The Whiz Kid and the Machine


Jarrett Kageyama's father has taken his son's love for the Lakers and helped mobilize it into a battle against eczema that has been recently joined by Lakers guard Sasha Vujacic. (MIKEY HIRANO CULROSS/Rafu Shimpo)


Rafu Sports Editor

A few months ago, the Rafu did a story entitled “The Whiz Kid” that detailed the life of 3-year-old Jarrett Kageyama who suffers from a skin disease called eczema. Jarrett’s talent, a hit on Youtube, revolved around his uncanny ability to recite both names and numbers for all of the Los Angeles Lakers. What began with his father, Eric, simply taking a friend’s advice and recording his son, has since evolved into a campaign to raise awareness for the disease that now involves not only the National Eczema Association, but Lakers backup shooting guard Sasha Vujacic as well.

Over 30 million Americans—many of them children—suffer from eczema. The disease causes rashes, skin lesions, blisters, oozing, crusting, dryness, intense itching that often leads to bleeding, and inflammation of the skin.

At three months old, Jarrett was diagnosed with eczema and often scratched his skin to the extent that it bled. As Jarrett got older, he became somewhat resistant to the skin treatments he had to follow. His parents tried several different coping mechanisms to keep his mind off scratching and create distractions while applying ointments and medicine, but it wasn’t until he took an interest in the Lakers that his parents found a lasting way to get him into a routine with his treatment.

Today, Jarrett uses his Sasha Soap, Kobe Cream, and Lamar Lotion to help cope with the arduous skin regime he must follow. And like Jarrett has gotten to the know the Lakers, the Lakers, in turn, have gotten to know him as well. Lamar Odom posted his video on his website and nicknamed him the “Whiz Kid,” Lakers radio play-by-play man Spero Dedes and Lakers VP Jeanie Buss have grown to love him and Vujacic became a partner with the National Eczema Association after meeting Jarrett and learning about his disease.

Through Sasha Scores for Kids with Eczema, Sasha is committed to raising awareness and providing support for kids with eczema. The first 100 donors ($25 and over) will receive an autographed photo of Sasha.

The National Eczema Association (800-818‐7546) works to improve the health and quality of life of people with eczema through research, support, and awareness. All donations are tax‐deductible.

For more info or to donate, visit here.


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