Community rallies for Valencia High football player whose leukemia has returned

SIGNAL FILE PHOTO: Pedro Roman was starting his second year as a football player at Valencia High School when he received his leukemia diagnosis. Photo courtesy of the Roman family.
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The Santa Clarita Valley community is once again rallying around Pedro Roman, a 16-year-old Valencia High football player who recently learned his leukemia had returned and spread. 

Roman had been diagnosed with the disease last year, and after undergoing treatment, he and his family believed they were in the clear — until recent test results confirmed their worst fears. 

“Unfortunately, Pedro’s cancer came back and it’s very aggressive and it’s in his bone marrow,” said Alana Altmayer, a friend of the family, via a phone call with The Signal on Wednesday.

Roman, now 16-years-old, lays in a bed during one of his hospital stays. Photo courtesy of the Roman family.

For the last three weeks, the Viking football player has been admitted at City of Hope, and will be there for another 29 days in order to complete a round of heavy chemotherapy and radiation. After that, doctors are hoping to do a bone marrow transplant within the next four to six weeks.

However, while the news of the cancer’s resurgence has been hard on the Roman family, he remains strong, Altmayer said. 

“To be honest with you, the kid is a warrior,” said Altmayer. “He’s got it, but he’s willing to fight the fight. He was doing pushups next to his bed at City of Hope. He’s willing to come out ahead and he’s not willing to give up.”

In an effort to help Roman, his mother and their family, the community is rekindling the GoFundMe page set up to assist his mother with medical costs and any and all necessary expenses that come up along the way while she stays with her son through the next few weeks. 

The GoFundMe link can be found at https://www.gofundme.com/f/1r3sk2mwxc.

Roman’s mother, wanting to spread awareness and hoping people realize the serious need for the type of bone marrow transplants that are out there, the family is also asking people to consider donating to BeTheMatch.com. 

The organization, according to its website, connects patients to the life-saving marrow transplants they need, covers uninsured costs for transplant recipients, and funds groundbreaking research. More information and donations to the organization can be made at www.bethematchfoundation.org

Additionally, when Roman first received his diagnosis, the members of his Valencia Viking football team, in a showing of solidarity with their friend and teammate, shaved their heads. 

Keeping in the same spirit of camaraderie and togetherness in support of Roman, they also have a P.O box set up for people to send well wishes and supportive messages. 

“It would be awesome for people to send ‘get well’ cards or anything inspirational for Pedro to read and his mom is going to hang everything on the wall,” said Altmayer.

The P.O box is information is as follows: 

Pedro Roman 

C/o Alana Altmayer 

P.O. Box 357 

Acton, CA 93510

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