In a week or so, Jonah Gomez and his family will have a new home, thanks to the producers of the TV show "Extreme Makeover." By then, he might also have hopes of a better life, thanks to Real Salt Lake and six other MLS teams that are conducting bone-marrow drives this weekend to find a suitable donor.
Gomez, a 7-year-old RSL fan who named its captain, Kyle Beckerman, as his favorite player, suffers from two rare blood disorders that require blood transfusions every six to eight weeks. Even the slightest case of fever means a quick trip to the hospital.
"You always have to be on guard," says his mother, Jessica Gomez. The new home will enable her to move out of her parents' house along with Jonah and his 5-year-old sister, Ellie. "It will definitely be easier to maintain Jonah's health and give Ellie her own space," Jessica says.
Last year, the Gomez family met Beckerman through the Make-A-Wish Foundation. Community workers alerted the producers of "Extreme Makeover" to the family's situation, and RSL officials helped spread the word to solicit help from other teams, as they did a few years ago for the wife of midfielder Andy Williams. "When there is a need, Utah steps up above and beyond," Jessica said.