Caden, parents make it home for his first birthday

Caden, parents make it home for his first birthday
Richard Brown
Richard Brown / KXLY4 News Anchor
Last updated: Wednesday, August 08th, 2007 11:44:57 PM

CHATTAROY — It’s been almost a year since Caden Achtley was born.

He suffers from a rare disease. But, now, there is hope. Just two weeks before his first birthday, Caden and his family are home.

“It feels great to be here, that’s for sure,” says Melissa Achtley, Caden’s mother.

For the past year, Caden and his parents, Josh and Melissa, have lived in hospitals as Caden fought Severe Combined Immunodeficiency or SCIDS. It’s a disease that he happened to get because both of his parents have a certain recessive gene. They spent months looking for a bone marrow donor and were finally rewarded thanks to an anonymous donor.

“All that we know about the donor is that it’s a 19-year-old female from the United States,” Melissa says.

Caden received the transplant in April. Since then, his parents have played a waiting game, hoping that his body would accept the donation.

“We’ve been getting weekly blood draws,” says Melissa. “We’d go in twice a week for blood draws and doctors apointments, as well.”

Now, after getting home from Seattle just on Tuesday night, they are enjoying the simple things that some families, and husbands and wives, take for granted.

“Last night we slept together in the very same bed in I don’t know how long it’s been,” Melissa said.

Caden still won’t leave the house much, except for his twice-weekly doctors visits. But now he can spend his days playing with is big brother, Austin.

There is still a chance his little body could reject the donation, but Caden’s parents are prepared.

“We saved some of his donor’s marrow,” Melissa says, “so if he would ever need extra we have some for him.”

Right now, his mom is just looking forward to spending time with her boys and watching them grow up.

“Five years from now,” says Melissa, “I see a normal little boy going to school, running around, playing with his friends. Just a normal little boy.”

Next April, the Atchleys can try to find out who the bone marrow donor is, and they say they will try to track that woman down to thank her.

Melissa Atchley also says that her and Josh will both be getting back to work. They credit their parents and the community for helping them financially to make it through this difficult year.

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