Eighth-Grader Needs Bone Marrow Match After ‘Heartbreaking’ Leukemia Diagnosis

SACRAMENTO -- Rico Castillo has a passion for baseball and soccer.

"I was mainly into soccer and football, and I got into baseball recently and that's just my favorite sport now," Rico said.

Sitting with the positive and articulate eighth-grader, you'd never know the hardships he's endured since January. After a month-long flu back in December, the 13-year-old boy went to the hospital to get checked out.

Doctors diagnosed him with leukemia.

"I didn't take it seriously, like, I didn't believe it. But I just didn't really care," Rico told FOX40. "I didn't focus on it. I was just focused on getting outta this."

"It was heartbreaking and it didn't seem real because it seemed like he just did had the flu," said Rico's mother Lydia Lozano. "And when they give us these test results, we're just like, 'How could this happen?'"

Rico underwent months of chemotherapy. Now, he needs a bone marrow transplant.

Faced with life-altering news, some might focus on their mortality. But Rico says he doesn't want to miss out on the sports he loves so much. Finding a bone marrow match means helping Rico get back on the playing field.

"You don't have to be family to help him," said family friend Rachelle Marshall. "I think we take it for granted that fact that we all have healthy children running around and Rico was one of those healthy children until he got news like this."

"It'll mean the world to us," Lozano said. "We need the match for a better outcome. Right now the odds aren't looking so good but with a match it'll give us better odds."

A bone marrow drive is scheduled for July 28 from 12 to 4 p.m. at High Five Sports at 8460 Belvedere Ave. in Sacramento. Sign up with Be The Match to register.

"Some people been... had cancer themselves and they're positive too. So, if they're positive then that means I can be positive," Rico said. "They got through it. That means I can get through it."