Baby's family hoping for marrow match

Shayan Reodica Jr. has spent more of his life in the hospital than he has at home.

His parents are hoping to end that trend by finding a bone-marrow match to help the 7-month-old boy beat leukemia.

His mother, Jessica Reodica, who works at the call center at Glendale Water and Power, is hosting a match event Wednesday with her family at First Baptist Church in Glendale. They will host a second event Thursday at Holy Cross Medical Center in Mission Hills.

"The leukemia is in remission now," Reodica said. "But because of his age and the type of leukemia he has, he is at higher risk for it returning. In order to give him a better chance, he needs a donor."

Reodica said she noticed an unusual bruise and other marks on her son's skin just three weeks after he was born. She brought him to doctors who quickly diagnosed him with acute myeloid leukemia.

Shayan has since undergone four rounds of chemotherapy as his family members pulled long shifts with him at the Kaiser Foundation Hospital on Sunset Boulevard, where he is under the care of pediatrician Dr. Jerry Cheng.

According to Shayan's grandmother and day-in, day-out caregiver, Maria Donez, the boy was very sick after his last round of chemo and was not eating enough. But receiving nutrition through two IV drips to a central port on his chest, he has progressed steadily in the nearly three weeks since returning home to his family's North Hollywood apartment.

"He's always been an upbeat baby through all he's gone through," Donez said.

She monitors his IV tubes and medical needs with reading him stories and helping him as he learns to sit up and move around.

Shayan's mother is part Salvadoran and part Puerto Rican. His father is part Filipino and part Indian. This background has lengthened the odds of finding a match.

According to the National Marrow Donor Program, about 70 % of leukemia and other patients who might benefit from a bone-marrow match do not have a good DNA match in their family. While the program has material from more than 8 million donors, only 250,000 — or 3% — come from people of multiple races.

At Wednesday's event, potential donors will be asked to give a swab of cheek cells to test. If they turn out to be a good match, they will be asked to undergo a one-day outpatient procedure during which the marrow is drawn, Reodica said.

The event takes place from noon to 6 p.m. Wednesday at First Baptist Church, 209 N. Louise St. For more info, visit

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