Char Yotz and other volunteers hope there won't be a dirty vehicle left in Fall City after today's car wash. If only Boe Smith's leukemia...

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Char Yotz and other volunteers hope there won’t be a dirty vehicle left in Fall City after today’s car wash. If only Boe Smith‘s leukemia could be scrubbed away as easily as the road dust.

Boe, 12, goes to Children’s Hospital & Regional Medical Center in Seattle every other week for chemotherapy and treatments as he battles the recurrence of the disease.

During Boe’s second bout with leukemia in February 2004, he was stuck at home and struggling to keep up with schoolwork at Fall City Elementary School. A publicized plea for a laptop computer resulted in overwhelming community support and the delivery of a new laptop, thanks to Mitch Elliott‘s morning-show team at KLSY-FM (92.5).

With the laptop, Boe was able to finish fifth grade and keep up with his classmates. Last fall he joined his buddies at Chief Kanim Middle School and returned to typical childhood activities such as Boy Scouts and soccer.

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“He’s an awesome goalie,” said Yotz, whose son played on the Fall City United soccer team with Boe. “But he can’t play now.”

Two weeks before Christmas, the Smiths learned the leukemia had returned.

It responded to treatment, but reappeared Feb. 22.

The car wash and a bake sale are part of the community effort to help Boe’s parents, Jen and Ron Smith, cover the ongoing medical bills. Schoolchildren will handle next week’s project, a sale of orange “Boe Smith Leukemia” wristbands. Although the family has medical insurance, Jen Smith quit work when Boe got sick in 2004 to care for her son and his younger sister, Teanna. Out-of-pocket expenses keep rising.

Even Boe hopes to help wash cars briefly.

“If he feels up to it,” Jen Smith said. “But when he gets with his friends, he’ll probably want to stay all day.”

The car wash and bake sale is from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. at Fall City Elementary School, 33314 S.E. 42nd Place.

Yen for Japanese

Barb Surdi worried for naught that her 12-year-old son would be intimidated by the high-school juniors in the Japanese II class at Bellevue High. But the high-schoolers not only respect Connor Surdi, they try to get the sixth-grader into their study groups because he’s so fluent.

Connor and a buddy, Michael DeLaurenti, attend Japanese language classes at 7:30 a.m. before their regular classes start at Tyee Middle School.

Connor’s interest in Japanese developed, in part, because the Surdi family has hosted a series of Japanese exchange students over the past 12 years.

The language and culture became a passion for Connor. And fittingly for the baseball fan, Seattle Mariners player Ichiro Suzuki became his hero.

In recent weeks, Connor has made two trips to the Mariners’ spring training. One with his Mudville (like Little League) baseball team and one with Hide and Yoko Sueyoshi of Bellevue. Hide Sueyoshi is the director of professional and international scouting for the Mariners — and good friends with Ichiro.

Connor not only got to meet Ichiro, he played catch with the star.

His bedroom, already plastered with pictures of the Japanese baseball player, now houses an Ichiro autographed ball, photographs of the boy and his hero, and a video of Connor conversing with Ichiro.

“Nobody else in the family can understand what they’re saying,” Barb Surdi said. “Connor’s 20-year-old brother, Chad, sometimes reminds Connor that he’s really Italian, not Japanese.”

Sherry Grindeland: 206-515-5633 or