Nine-Year-Old Kobe is Now Cancer-Free and Playing Baseball Again!
Kobe Washington was playing his favorite game, baseball, when he fell ill. He had just turned eight-years-old and was on a baseball trip with his family. His parents noticed that Kobe seemed sluggish. The lymph nodes around his neck were swollen and he had a slight fever, so they took him to a local hospital.
Soon after arriving, the doctors had him airlifted to Johns Hopkins All Children’s Hospital in St. Petersberg, Florida.
Kobe was diagnosed with T-cell lymphoblastic leukemia, an aggressive blood cancer.
That was in August of 2020. Since then, it has been a whirlwind year for Kobe and his family.
The Challenges of Blood Cancer
His little body had to withstand all of the treatments that come with blood cancer; chemo, emergency surgeries, blood transfusions, spinal taps, kidney issues, hypertension, and radiation.
There were many challenges, but Kobe managed them all like a true sportsman, he was always smiling, always positive.
Due to the severity of his cancer, Kobe’s parents had no choice but to quit work. He required 24/7 caretaker support, even while in the hospital. His parents split their time between watching over Kobe and caring for their other children.
The Icla da Silva Foundation was happy to be able to provide some financial assistance while we continued the search for a matching donor.
Thousands signed up to become potential donors, and we were grateful, but no one matched Kobe.
His time was running out.
A Successful Transplant
In March of 2021, seven months after diagnosis, Kobe’s medical team decided to transplant blood stem cells from his father, even though he was only a 50% match.
Surprisingly in June, 100 days later, Kobe’s bone marrow biopsy showed 100% donor origin, with no trace of leukemia.
Kobe is now nine-years-old and cancer-free.
He still has to visit the hospital every two weeks for check-ups, but he is building back his strength and Kobe is playing baseball again!
We are very happy for him and his family. Good news like this cannot be celebrated enough.
We wish him a happy return to childhood…and many more baseball games.
You can help us support more patients like Kobe.
Written by: Bret ItskowitchThe Fighter
“Little” Ricky Roman isn’t so little anymore, he is now almost as tall as his dad, “Big” Ricky. In February, Little Ricky turned 16, but the blood pulsing through his body is technically only seven years old. In May, he celebrated his 7th transplant birthday, 7 years after receiving a stem cell transplant from an unknown donor.
In September 2010, Little Ricky wasn’t feeling well. He was bruising easily and his eyes were a pale yellow. His parents rushed him to the doctor. One month later, he was diagnosed with severe aplastic anemia, a rare and serious condition in which the bone marrow stops producing enough new blood cells. It leaves you feeling weak and fatigued, with a higher risk of infections and potential heart complications.
Little Ricky was an active child, so his fatigue was an obvious sign that something was wrong. He liked biking, baseball and boxing. After diagnosis, his obsession with boxing took on a new meaning. While no one is prepared for a battle with cancer, Little Ricky became a true fighter.
The Search for a Match
It was determined by his doctors that a stem cell transplant was his only cure. At the time, there was no match on the Be The Match bone marrow registry. Aunts, uncles and cousins were tested. Unfortunately, no one was a match for Little Ricky. With the support of his family, friends and the Icla da Silva Foundation, everyone was determined to find a match. We held bone marrow drives, getting as many people as possible to join the registry, and we all hoped that a life saving match would turn up.
Ricky spent a year going back and forth to the hospital, for treatments, tests and observation. His mom had to quit her job so that she was always available for a quick trip to the hospital, an overnight stay, or weeks of treatments.
Finally, A Match Was Found
Little Ricky Roman, the fighter, received a successful transplant in May of 2011 at NY Presbyterian Hospital.
Someone who had joined the Be The Match registry was a match for Ricky. Fortunately, they said yes to a stem cell donation. Ricky has yet to meet the donor who joined the registry. He knows that it is a woman, and he is grateful that she said yes when she received the call asking her to donate. We hope to be able to arrange a meeting between Little Ricky and his donor.
Annual Ricky Roman Fundraiser
Since the time of his diagnosis, the Roman family has been very supportive of the Icla da Silva Foundation. They are avid sports fans; they ran together in our annual 5K, and for the past 8 years, the Roman’s have been hosting a Softball Fundraiser to support the Icla da Silva Foundation. We are extremely grateful for their efforts. The money they raise helps us continue fighting for patients who need a bone marrow transplant. You can click this link to find out more information about the Ricky Roman Softball Fundraiser and register a team.
If you are in or near Jersey City, join them on the field:
Saturday August 4
Caven Point Softball Fields, Jersey City, NJ
It’s easy to enter a team, or simply support their efforts through a donation.
We are very grateful and we appreciate their continued support of our efforts. We know many patients are thankful as well (click below to support the fundraiser).
Keep Fighting Ricky
According to his Aunt Maria, Ricky is doing well. He starts High School in the fall. He loves baseball, bikes, and playing video games. Of course all children love playing video games, often to the exasperation of many adults, but this is a special circumstance. Spending a year in and out of the hospital for treatments gives ‘playing video games’ a new understanding.
Keep fighting Ricky, keep playing, keep growing, and thank you to you and your family for continuing to raise funds for us.