News

The boy with the happy heart

By PAT JENKINS

Editor

Like most 11-year-old boys, Logan Trezise rides his bike and plays with his friends.

But unlike them, he’s leading a boy’s life with someone else’s heart in his chest. And he’s loving every minute.

The Federal Way-area youngster underwent a heart transplant last August, trading his own heart that was dangerously enlarged from a viral condition, weakening him to the point he had to miss school for a year and stay home.

As he waited for his name to come up on the heart recipient list, he was forced into virtual isolation to avoid any illnesses that could weaken him further.

“We had a bubble boy on our hands,” said his mother, Linda Landstrom.

Nearly half of people with Logan’s former heart condition die from it, and Landstrom said doctors expect he may need another transplant some day. But last month he returned to fourth grade at Lake Dolloff Elementary School a few blocks from his family’s home, attending half-days until he’s cleared for a full schedule. Life’s a lot more fun now, he said.

It’s definitely better than the nightly, pre-transplant fear of his mother. “The hardest part,” she said, “was putting him to bed at night and not knowing if he’d be there in the morning.”

And it beats his own nervousness as he headed to Children’s Hospital in Seattle Aug. 22 for the surgery. “It was scary,” he said. But he asked nurses to take pictures of his surgery, and now he has snapshots that include one of his old heart lying on a table beside his new one.

Logan had a good reason for missing the wedding of his brother, Brett Beaupain, the day after the transplant. “I wanted to get my new heart,” he said.

At school, Logan and his classmates don’t talk much about what he’s been through. But the staff there pick up the conversational slack.

“Everyone has rallied around him,” said Carolyn Miles, a school nurse assistant. “One of the playground supervisors asked me one day, ‘Logan’s out here running around. Is that okay?’”

Just in case, the health and office workers and teachers have all been trained to use a defibrillator. The device, which shocks hearts back into rhythm, “hangs right outside my door,” Miles said.

The school workers follow a care plan for Logan agreed to by them, his mom and doctors. Word goes immediately to Landstrom about any illnesses among students that could put her son at risk.

The staff’s handling of the first and only student with a transplanted heart in the Federal Way Public Schools system has been “outstanding,” said Landstrom, herself a teacher at Baker Middle School in Tacoma. “They deserve so much credit.”

“We’ve dealt with diabetic students and things like that, but nothing like this. We don’t mind, though, because Logan is such a wonderful boy,” Miles said.

Under transplant privacy rules, recipients must wait at least a year after their surgery before they can ask who donated their new heart. Even then, officials will only accept a letter from Logan and his family and forward it to the donor’s anonymous relatives, who then can decide whether to respond and reveal the lifegiver’s name.

Before that might happen, Logan and his family will travel in July to a water park near San Antonio, Texas for five days of splashing paid for through Make a Wish, the organization that grants wishes of children with life-threatening medical conditions.

“That’s going to be fun,” Logan said.

Spoken like a boy who knows how to live.

Editor Pat Jenkins: 925-5565, editor@fedwaymirror.com

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