The Houchin Community Blood Bank has announced it’s holding a community blood drive Saturday to support a Valencia High School student diagnosed with leukemia.
After Pedro Roman, 17, was diagnosed with acute lymphoblastic leukemia in 2019, a large outcropping of support was seen across the Santa Clarita Valley: His football teammates shaved their heads in solidarity with their friend, who was heading into chemotherapy treatments; a GoFundMe page was set up to help the family with medical costs; and dozens of people hosted a drive-by celebration of Roman for his birthday.
Roman, however, has had to return to the hospital after a recent relapse in his cancer, which had spread to his spine and brain, said his mother, Lizette. The young Viking is set to undergo further chemotherapy and CAR T-cell therapy, a process by which T-cells are taken from the patient’s blood, altered, and then reintroduced with the capacity to latch onto a specific antigen on the patient’s tumor cells and kill them.
“He’s got to stay strong and get a clean (cancer-free) scan before either procedure can be done. It’s going to be hard on him,” Lizette said. “Thankfully, his major organs are all healthy and working.”
In honor of Roman, who has received more than 100 blood transfusions since 2019, the Houchin Community Blood Bank has said it will try and help the 4.5 million Americans who will need a blood transfusion each year, and hold a drive-thru blood drive.
“Every two seconds, someone in the U.S. requires a life-saving blood transfusion, and each donated unit of whole blood can save up to three lives,” read a news release from the blood bank. “Just like Pedro, there are people in our community that need blood transfusions.”
The blood drive is set to take place from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. Saturday, Jan. 30, at 20870 Centre Pointe Parkway, Santa Clarita. All donors will receive a bag of cookies from Salt Sugar Flour Bakery.
To schedule an appointment, call 661-331-1313 or visit www.hcbb.com/schedule. Appointments are required for this drive. For information about safety precautions, visit hcbb.com/covid. Those wishing to donate to support Roman’s family with costs associated with medical expenses their GoFundMe page at gofundme.com/f/help-15year-old-diagnosed-with-leukemia.