Three months after Meadow Elementary student , a donor match has been found and the 11-year-old will be undergoing a transplant this Thursday at the University of California San Francisco hospital.
In February, CJ was diagnosed with Chronic Myelogenous Leukemia, or CML, a rare form of leukemia in children. That prompted the Banaszeks to launch a "One in One Million" campaign to help find a bone marrow donor, swabbing more than 2,000 people at a fundraising event in April at the Petaluma Valley Athletic Club.
Despite the outpouring of community support, a donor was found in Germany, but little else is known about the person since donor registry rules prevent patients from contacting donors for at least two years, said CJ’s mom Heather Banaszek.
Since the match, CJ has been undergoing chemotherapy at UCSF to prepare his body for the transplant after which he will remain hospitalized for at least a month.
Once CJ returns home, he will be home schooled and have to avoid going out in public to prevent exposure to germs.
“The prognosis is good and he’s been responding well to treatment, but there are a lot of potential side effects and problems,” said Heather Banaszek. “It’s been hard for him to sleep, connected to so many wires and with them beeping all the time. And he’s very aware of what’s going on and he’s sad, scared and angry.”
The Banaszeks, who own the Applebee’s in North Petaluma, have been taking turns to stay at CJ’s bedside, while the other parent remains at home with their 13-year-old daughter in order to keep life "as normal as possible."
“This has been tremendously difficult, but we still have our family,” Banaszek said. “We’re just taking it one day at a time and are appreciative for all the blessings we have.”
Do you know CJ Banaszek? Send your well wishes to CJ before his operation Thursday!