EUGENE, Ore. — A Eugene infant is fighting for his life and needs a bone marrow transplant to survive.
Kaimani Knight was born May 14, 2014 at Sacred Heart at RiverBend in Springfield. On May 1, two weeks before his birth, a new state law went into effect mandating infant screening for SCID, which stands for Severe Combined Immune Deficiencies (SCID).
Little Kai tested positive for SCID. He also tested positive for CMV, or Cytomegalovirus, which is extremely common but can potentially be a real problem for people with a compromised immune system.
Kai is currently at Doernbecher Children’s Hospital in isolation. His parents, Nykki and Jason Knight, say he is not symptomatic, but the virus is circulating in his body. He is currently being treated with potent drugs to get the “viral load” down as low as possible before transplant. They are hopeful they will will find a match, but say it could be a challenge because of genetics. “Because of the 1/16th that Kaimani is Samoan, that could make it harder. There’s no guarantee. It really depends on how strong the Samoan genetics are showing up. For the circumstances, we are extremely blessed. All odds are on his side at this point, so we are looking at the positive and keeping positive,” said Nykki Knight.
Kai’s parents are encouraging anyone who wants to help to sign up to be a bone marrow donor. You have to be between the ages of 18 and 44 and in good health.
To join the Be The Match registry, you must first sign up. A registration kit will be sent to your address. You will be required to return a swab of cheek cells.
According to Be The Match, 1 in 40 registry members will be called for addition testing. One in 300 will be selected as the best possible donor for a patient.
Insurance will pay for Kai’s bone marrow transplant once a donor is identified, but Nykki and Jason will be leaving home for a minimum of three months to support him on his journey back to health and will not be able to work during this time. A GoFundMe account has been set up to help the Knight family.