North Tahoe family organizes drive to save child | SierraSun.com

North Tahoe family organizes drive to save child

David Bunker
Sierra Sun

Three days before reaching the age of 6 months, blue-eyed Trevor Kott is already fighting for his life.

Diagnosed with a rare form of leukemia days after his birth, Kott’s North Tahoe grandparents and native Tahoe City father are now in a race against time to find a bone marrow donor who can save Trevor’s life.

After a night with just two hours of sleep, following interviews and phone calls desperately organizing bone-marrow drives, Trevor’s grandmother, Linda Kott, is still full of hope.

Despite the grim diagnosis, as Trevor undergoes his fifth round of chemotherapy, Linda Kott is tireless in searching for a match.

“None of us would be working these hours and this hard if we didn’t think it will work,” said Kott.

Kott has organized tissue-typing drives around the area, including one at the Tahoe City fire department on Monday, April 16.

At the drive, potential donors only need to undergo a simple, painless mouth swab to determine if they are a life-saving bone marrow match.

“Our window to find this tissue match is finite,” said Kott. “It is very, very, very tight.”

Linda Kott, a longtime North Tahoe teacher and volunteer, worked with North Tahoe Fire Capt. Ray O’Brien to organize a marrow drive at the Tahoe City fire station.

O’Brien, who was taught by Linda Kott in seventh grade and a high school classmate of Trevor’s father, Bob Kott, was more than willing to help.

“Our goal is to get the word out there,” said O’Brien.

The mouth swab test costs $52, but Linda Kott said that she and others are prepared to pay the fee for those unable to spend that amount of money.

She also encouraged employers, or anyone else, to contribute to a fund at http://www.themarrowfoundation.org in Trevor Kott’s name to allow potential marrow matches to donate.

“You might be the person that can save a life,” said Kott.

Gail Penney, a longtime friend of the Kott family, said she understands the urgency of the situation and is also helping spread the word.

“She’s trying to save her grandson’s life,” said Penney.

Trevor Kott still smiles and laughs despite the almost constant chemotherapy he has endured since birth at Kaiser Permanente hospital in Sacramento.

“He came bouncing into this world,” said Linda Kott.

Linda refuses to mention the number of weeks Trevor is expected to live without a bone-marrow match. But the time is being registered in days and weeks rather than months.

In fact, his life so far has defied the prognosis given to infants with the unusual disease.

“Trevor came into this world with the will to live,” said Linda Kott.

But, as he sits within the walls of the hospital ” the only world he’s truly known ” he desperately needs help.

So his grandparents wait, and hope, that one of the bone-marrow drives, including the Tahoe City effort, will turn up a miracle.