A healthier Logan heads home

Andrew
Andrew Robinson
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Recipient of bone marrow transplant flying back from Toronto with family

Logan Hickey, who will turn three in August, was the recipient of a bone marrow transplant in Toronto last year to treat a severe immune deficiency. He will return to his home province this week.
— Submitted photo

Cindy Hickey and her family booked tickets two weeks ago to fly from Toronto back to Newfoundland and Labrador, but following through on those plans was contingent on one matter — the health of her son Logan.

Last August, Logan was the recipient of a bone marrow transplant to treat a severe immune deficiency detected earlier that year following several tests at Toronto SickKids hospital.

On Friday, Logan went to his final clinical appointment, and the prognosis was good.

“When he went to the clinic (Friday), the doctors came in and his blood work is still perfect,” said his excited mother, who has long been looking forward to coming home with her family. They will fly to

St. John’s on Wednesday.

“Oh my God,” said Cindy. “It’s going to be a very big reunion at the airport.”

Logan, who is from O’Donnell’s in St. Mary’s Bay, broke out into rashes shortly after his one-year immunizations. Doctors at the Janeway Children’s Health and Rehabilitation Centre in St. John’s initially thought it was a case of the chicken pox, but his condition further deteriorated. A biopsy later determined he was suffering from an extremely rare skin condition.

Doctors at Toronto SickKids later determined that condition stemmed from his severe immune deficiency. For Logan, even a typically harmless illness like the flu could prove fatal.

Following his transplant, Logan had to take two different immune suppressants to allow his immune system to redevelop at a manageable pace. He stopped taking his suppressants in mid-May. Logan was discharged from Toronto SickKids in September, and the family has stayed at Ronald McDonald House ever since. The hospital is a six-minute walk from Ronald McDonald House.

“The last few months have been fantastic,” said Cindy Hickey, who last spoke with The Telegram about her son’s condition in August 2012. “December and January he had some kidney issues, which were touch and go — he was in and out of the hospital. But since January (onwards), it’s been smooth sailing — knock on wood.”

Dangers remain

He is, however, susceptible to graft-versus-host disease (GVHD), which would involve the new bone marrow attacking his body. It can be triggered by any virus for up to two years following the transplant, according to Cindy. Logan will have to wait a while before he can do things like attend day care or accompany his family on a trip to the grocery store. He has to wear a mask in crowded settings.

“We’re still very cautious with him,” said Cindy.

This August, Logan will undergo a test to determine if the bone marrow transplant was a full-on success. Cindy expects it may be a year before Logan begins to interact with others without restrictions.

Rather than return to O’Donnell’s, the Hickeys will rent a house in St. John’s so Logan can have quick access to the Janeway if necessary.

“I wouldn’t take a chance with O’Donnell’s,” said Cindy. “We’re still about two hours away from the hospital.”

Cindy and Corey Hickey also have a 4 1/2-year-old son Jayden. Corey returned to Newfoundland and Labrador in April to work in the fishery, at which point Cindy’s mother came to Toronto to help out.

“It was a big adjustment,” she said of living in Toronto, where Jayden has attended junior kindergarten every weekday. “His life has been upturned, too.”

The family has documented Logan’s plight in a Facebook group called “Logan’s Journey.”

arobinson@thetelegram.com

Twitter: @TeleAndrew

Organizations: Toronto SickKids, Ronald McDonald House

Geographic location: Toronto, Newfoundland and Labrador

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  • Tracey
    July 02, 2013 - 16:28

    So happy to hear Logan is doing well. I really hope everything works out.