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Fundraiser held for baby battling mysterious illness

By Dwayne Parker, Reporter, DParker@wfmz.com
Published On: Jun 14 2013 07:00:00 PM CDT
Updated On: Jun 14 2013 10:49:56 PM CDT

Fundraiser held for baby battling mysterious illness

READING, Pa. -

A Berks County model whose life has been turned upside down by her infant son's mysterious illness received some much needed support Friday night.

The model's 11-month-old son, Jasiel, has been in the hospital virtually every day of his short life.

Katiria Melendez, his mother, who once had a thriving career as a model, even living in New York City, gave it all up to be by her son's side as he fights for his life at Children's Hospital of Philadelphia.

For almost a year, doctors have been trying to pin down Jasiel's illness.

Friday night, 69 News learned that the family received the results of a much-anticipated blood test, which revealed that the infant suffers from neutropenia, a blood disorder that limits the ability to fight off infections.

"We would rather it be that, because it can later on be treated and actually go away or outgrown in the future, so that's something that we're very happy about," Melendez said.

So many, inspired by Jasiel's fighting spirit, turned out to Friday night's fundraiser where there was music and salsa performances.

As residents arrived, they dropped $20 and $30 donations in a jar, all to provide Katiria with some much needed emotional and financial support.

"Reading, they say it's the poorest city in the United States, let me tell you it's rich in heart. Reading is very rich in heart," said Hector Dorta, organizer.

"It makes me feel so happy," Melendez said. "I just didn't know that my story, me and my son, would actually touch as many people as it did."

Donations are still being accepted.

If you would like to help, you can make a donation at any Sovereign bank under the name of Kitty and Jasiel Melendez.