La Verne Heights Student and Pop Warner Football Player Tackles His Illness Head On

October 20, 2009
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Noah and Alaina have a lot to root for; and the community stands shoulder to shoulder with them.

Noah and Alaina have a lot to root for; and the community stands shoulder to shoulder with them.

On Sunday at Bonita High School’s Glenn Davis Stadium, there was a special visitor in the house – Noah Ramos, the 10-year-old La Verne Heights student who was stricken with a serious blood disorder at the start of the 2009/10 school year and is now fighting his way back.

Cleared by his doctors to return home and be out in the sun, Noah, who plays for the La Verne San Dimas Pop Warner Football Barbarians, was made honorary captain by his coaches and teammates.

His biggest fan was his mother Alaina Ramos who was sitting in the stands, cheering on the team and happy, like Noah, to be resuming some aspect of a normal routine, after her son was diagnosed with aplastic anemia Sept. 4 at Children’s Hospital Los Angeles, turning their lives upside down.

When Alaina was told her son had aplastic anemia, she was caught off guard. “I had to Google it,” she said, in between plays watching the Barbarians and keeping an eye on Noah.

Aplastic anemia is an anemia due to a decrease in the bone marrow’s production of white cells (that fight infection) red cells (that carry oxygen to all parts of the body) and platelets (that let the blood clot naturally). The disease can occur spontaneously or be triggered by certain medications or toxic substances.

On the first day back to school on Aug. 24, Noah had become feverish and started vomiting. Two days later when he was back at school, he suffered a nosebleed that wouldn’t stop.

Based on the bruising and dots on Noah’s body, Alaina’s family physician suspected a serious condition and recommended more specialized testing at Children’s Hospital. Its tests produced the aplastic anemia diagnosis. He also takes oral chemo treatments every day. He’s also receiving blood transfusions about every four days.

Noah fittingly wears No. 1 -- He's No. 1 in the hearts and prayers of all who know who him.

Noah fittingly wears No. 1 -- He's No. 1 in the hearts and prayers of all who know who him.

“They (the medical staff) are doing everything they can to prolong his life,” Alaina said. “Ultimately, a bone marrow transplant may be in order. But right now, they’re doing these treatments in hope that his bone marrow will respond the way they want it to and the way it needs to. We’re really hopeful right now.

“We’re dealing with things as they come, and hoping the medicine will do what it’s supposed to do.”

Also giving them hope is a community that has rallied around Noah’s plight. His La Verne Heights classmates emptied their pockets in a “Nickels for Noah” fundraiser that netted $690 that was matched by an anonymous donor. Earlier this month, the school hosted a cookie sale, Vons sponsored a blood drive and Red Devil’s Pizza donated part of his day’s proceeds to Noah’s cause.

“We’ve had a phenomenal response,” Alaina said.

Another blood drive may be held in December, owing to the fact that donors can only give blood every 56 days. A bone marrow registry may also be launched soon as the course of Noah’s treatment becomes clearer with time.

Alaina said Noah is the kind of boy who was always outdoors playing and skateboarding. “He was so active,” Alaina said. “He would never come home. “He’s the kid who would call me up and 5, and say, ‘Do I have to come home?’ Now he’s always home. I don’t want to let him out of my sight now.”

While Noah is watching more television, he won’t be able to escape homework. Since last Friday, Noah’s fifth grade teacher Jennifer Brazeau, has been hand-delivering his assignments and spending time with her bright young pupil.

Alaina is on family medical leave from her fulltime job, thankful that her employer has been so generous and understanding during this difficult time for the family. While her insurance has so far covered Noah’s medical expenses (14 days of hospitalization cost $125,000), minus her deductible, she is not sure what the limits of her coverage are. In three months, Noah’s doctors will be better able to assess his current source of treatment.

For one afternoon, however, life seemed pretty much back to normal as Alaina got to chat with some parents and Noah moved back and forth from the players’ bench and the stands where his mother and other ardent supporters sat. There were a lot of smiles to go around.

For more information about Noah, his condition, and how you can show your support through words of encouragement or donations, please go to  Additional support may be sent to the school by calling (909) 971-8205, ext 4511.


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