Family rallies behind toddler

Family rallies behind toddler
Hamilton youth suffers from multiple diseases, including ‘bubble boy’ syndrome.

By Denise Wilson

Staff Writer

Sunday, March 04, 2007

HAMILTON — In his first 18 months of life, Tyler Fisher could say “momma” and “daddy.”

But now, the words have stopped.

On Nov. 27, 2006, Tyler was admitted to Children’s Hospital Medical Center in Cincinnati for sudden liver failure. After undergoing multiple tests, Tyler was diagnosed with acute autoimmune hepatitis, said Alana Retherford, Tyler’s aunt.

“He’s very weak,” Retherford said. “He … went into the hospital being able to say mommy and daddy and that kind of thing, and now he doesn’t speak at all.”

Acute autoimmune hepatitis is a condition in which the patient’s own immune system attacks the liver, causing inflammation and liver cell death. Tyler now is at the top of the hospital’s liver transplant list. However, with no donors immediately available, he received the upper lobe of his mother’s liver, Retherford said.

“The whole idea of waiting for somebody’s else child to die, I think that really got to her,” Retherford said of her 25-year-old sister-in-law, Cindi.

Then, after some complications from the liver transplant, doctors found something else wrong with Tyler. He underwent a bone marrow biopsy on Jan. 2, which showed he has bone marrow destruction along with XLP, or “bubble boy” syndrome.

Lymphoproliferative syndrome, also known as Duncan’s syndrome, is a rare fatal disease that affects only boys. The only cure is a bone marrow transplant.

Tyler’s parents, Cindi and Adam Fisher, received more bad news. Their son was diagnosed with severe combined immunodeficiency syndrome with post-transplant lymphoproliferative disease or lymphoma, which is caused by the Epstein-Barr Virus.

SCIDS is a life-threatening syndrome of recurrent infections and PTLD is an uncommon complication of both solid organ and alllogenic bone marrow transplantation.

Retherford said Tyler recently started undergoing chemotherapy and his family just learned that Children’s Hospital has found a perfect match for his bone marrow.

Nevertheless, doctors have taken Tyler off all immune suppressant drugs to help with the lymphoma and now he stands at a high risk for rejection of his new liver, Retherford said.

“I’ve broken down several times,” she said. “Every time something goes bad, she (Cindi) just says we’re in the best hospital, we have the best doctors and that’s all I can think of right now. I don’t want to think of the negative.

Cindi said prior to his illnesses, her son was a happy, energetic and playful toddler.

“He can’t stand up or anything now.”

Meanwhile, the financial debt is mounting for the Hamilton family, Retherford said.

Adam is working 60 to 70 hours a week and Cindi has been at Tyler’s side around the clock through this whole ordeal.

That’s why the family has set up a charity benefit in Tyler’s name that will run from 7 p.m. to midnight on April 21, at the Electrician’s Union Hall, 4300 Millikin Road in Hamilton. Pre-sale tickets are available for this event for $20 per person.

The event also will include a silent auction of items donated by the community. Auction donations my be sent to P.O. Box 13387 Hamilton, OH 45013.

Donations also may be made to the Tyler Fisher Benefit Fund through an account at any Fifth Third Bank branch.

Contact this reporter at (513) 820-2190 or dewilson@coxohio.com.

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