9-Year-Old Instagram Stars Ask Fans to Help Find Bone Marrow Transplant to Save Their Dad's Life
Ava and Leah Clements — the 9-year-old sisters who were hailed the “most beautiful twins in the world” by numerous media outlets — are now using their Instagram power to help save their father’s life.
It was in 2017 when a friend of the family encouraged them to create an Instagram account for the girls. Almost immediately after their mom Jaqi posted the first few photos, they began to bring in tens of thousands of followers.
The family never thought their pictures would be anything but them modeling, but then Kevin got sick in October.
The father of three and head swim coach at JSerra Catholic High School in San Juan Capistrano, California, started feeling “a little bit of a cold” coming on, he recalls. It never occurred to him that it could be something serious.
His symptoms worsened over the next few weeks, and on Oct. 30 doctors gave him the frightening diagnosis: a rare, aggressive cancer called T-cell acute lymphoblastic leukemia/lymphoma.
“That,” says Clements, 39, “is when everything changed.”
For more on the Clements, subscribe now to PEOPLE or pick up this week’s issue.
While Kevin is currently going through this second of twelve rounds of chemotherapy, he and his family are on a desperate — and hopeful — search for a life-saving bone marrow transplant.
Ava and Leah turned to their 1.5 million followers to help find their dad a match — a long shot but his best hope for a cure.
“We can put it out there to so many people how easy it is to see if you’re a match and how you can help,” says Kevin.
The twins, who are helping with bone marrow drives sponsored by DKMS, the world’s largest bone marrow donor center, are glad that they — and their fans — can do their part.
“If he gets a transplant, his cancer will go away quicker,” says Ava.
Adds Leah: “People are so sweet to want to help my dad. The more people that get tested the better.”
The family says that even if they don’t find Kevin a match, they know they can help some of the 12,000 others in urgent need of bone marrow transplants. The simple test to find out if you’re a match is a cheek swab, and the actual procedure, if you end up becoming a match, is painless.
“We can help spread awareness so that more people decide to become donors,” says Jaqi, who has spent every night at the hospital with Kevin. “There’s just so much you could do with this platform. And it’s taken about two years to build, but I think we can really get out there and help a lot of people. That’s our new focus right now.”
Adds Kevin: “At the end of the day, life needs to move forward. There’s so much love out there. I’ve gotten text messages, emails, and phone calls from people who I haven’t heard from since college. It has helped our family really deal with it in a very positive way.”