News

Former UCSB basketball player's new book pays tribute to fallen friend

New edition funding Sickle Cell Disease research

Former UCSB basketball player using novel to give back

SANTA BARBARA, Calif. - When JD Slajchert played basketball at UCSB, he and his friend Luc Bodden shared a special bond. And a special meeting place after games: Woodstock's Pizza in Isla Vista.

"It was his favorite restaurant," Slajchert said, saying he and Luc's relationship blossomed during those meet ups at Woodstock's.

Luc was battling Sickle Cell Disease. In 2016, he passed away at the age of 10. Luc inspired JD to write "Moonflower," a novel based on JD's life.

Soon after the book was published last fall, Slajchert lost his childhood home in Malibu to the Woolsey Fire. He then used the book's proceeds to raise money for fire victims.

"Every single thing that happened was a blessing, even the worst parts of it," Slajchert said. "And I mean that to say I now look back and reflect on even those tough things I went through and appreciate them more today."

Now Slajchert is releasing a new charity edition of "Moonflower," with the proceeds going to Sickle Cell Disease research. 

"For me, it's a very touching and amazing opportunity to try to shed light on something that won't effect most people like me," he said.

The devastating disease is especially common in African Americans and children.

One of Luc's doctors at Children's Hospital Los Angeles wrote the foreword in the new edition.

"To help educate more people on what this disease is really about and to also tell another story from another perspective about Luc," Slajchert said of the foreword. "This is actually what it looks like. This is the non-fiction version of this story."

The new edition also features a letter from JD to Luc and a photo album of Luc with heroes he looked up to: Kevin Durant, Steph Curry, Matt Kemp and JD.

Even the book's price, $27.88, pays tribute to Luc. The numbers belonged to two of Luc's favorite athletes, Kemp (27) and Dez Bryant (88).

Slajchert has spent time in the past year promoting the book and speaking at events, including UCSB commencement this summer. He also recently became an ambassador for the American Red Cross.

Slajchert says he hopes the book will inspire everyone to do just a little bit more to help others, however they can.

"Find the thing that really gets you up in the morning and motivates you and help that cause," Slajchert said. "Because helping one person is not a waste of time. And if this book and this story helps just one person, then it was all worth it."

You can find out more information at JDwritesbooks.com.


Recommended Stories

Top Local Stories