Oak Park boy named ‘Kid Captain,’ honored at UCLA’s season-opening football game

Luc Bodden, left, was honored as the “Kid Captain” by Mattel Children’s Hospital UCLA and the football team. He and his brother Shane pose with Josephine Bruin during pre-game warmups before the Bruins’ football game on Sept. 5, 2015.

Here’s what you need to know about 9-year-old Luc Bodden: he has fought off sickle cell anemia with two bone marrow transplants, various transfusions, and sometimes, intravenous fluids during pain crises. Yet Luc’s spirit won over the hearts of everyone who has had the privilege of meeting him. For his grit and positive attitude, not to mention his love of football, Luc was designated the fourth “Kid Captain” by UCLA Mattel Children's Hospital and the UCLA football team.

Begun last year, the Kid Captain program recognizes UCLA pediatric patients who face life-threatening illnesses with courage, strength and determination. On Sept. 5 at UCLA’s opening football game against Virginia, Luc and his family attended the game, were invited to the UCLA chancellor’s tailgate tent dinner, and were on the field at the Rose Bowl during pre-game warm-ups.

“This young man has conquered more obstacles than most seasoned adults you will ever meet,” said his mom, Stacy. Every week, she noted, the fourth grader is a ray of sunshine in the UCLA pediatric outpatient clinic and infusion center whether he is receiving an infusion, or if he’s simply stopping in to say hello to his favorite staff members. “He certainly brings a smile to everyone’s faces and is quick to give a deserving hug,” she said.

Luc, who is from Oak Park, California, is currently receiving treatment at UCLA Mattel Children's Hospital for sickle cell anemia. Luc was initially treated at another hospital where he and his family made the tough decision to undergo a bone marrow transplant that would give him a chance at a cure and let him regain some control over his life. His first transplant attempt, unfortunately, was unsuccessful due to rejection, and Luc underwent his second transplant almost immediately after.

Shortly after recovery and a successful second transplant with major complications, Luc’s primary hematology physician, Dr. Ami Shah, who oversaw his care through transplant, transferred to Mattel Children’s Hospital. For Luc and his family, it was a not a question — they followed. Shah has moved to another hospital and Luc is now being treated by Dr. Ted Moore.

Since coming to UCLA, Luc has been a weekly ray of sunshine in the pediatric outpatient clinic and infusion center. The love and support of his family are impossible to miss as well — they all accompany him to clinic during his lengthy infusion days or whenever they are needed.

Luc’s knowledge and love of sports — especially football (“he eats, breathes and loves everything about the sport!” said mom) — shines through all the time. He is quick to talk sports, but you better know your stuff. He’s almost always ready to answer any questions about his running wish list of Dallas Cowboy Jerseys (his favorite team), and other football related swag should anyone feel inclined to donate an item to the hospital, care of Luc. Who knows — perhaps UCLA will become his new favorite team, but they better be on their toes. They’re about to have their hands full with a new Kid Captai

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