Baby waiting for lung transplant
By Harold Reutter | The Independent
Jet Hansen, who is less than a year old, may have to stay with his mother, Sarah, in St. Louis for another nine months before they can return home to Grand Island.
Jet, who has two older siblings, is the son of Jared and Sarah Hansen, and the grandson of Dave and Kathy Stoddard, and John and Karen Hansen, all of Grand Island.
The estimated nine-month wait may be an optimistic timetable for Jet, who was diagnosed this past November with pulmonary vein stenosis, a rare condition that will require the infant to undergo a double lung transplant at St. Louis Children's Hospital.
While nothing can be done to speed up the timetable, a benefit later this week will raise money to help defray the expenses of Jet's treatments and eventual surgery.
Goodman said Jet and Sarah must remain in St. Louis to be immediately available for surgery should lungs become available for transplant. She noted that Grand Island friends of the Hansen family who knew people in St. Louis were able to find a person willing to share their home with Jet and Sarah for part of their stay in St. Louis. Goodman said Sarah is hoping that she and Jet can eventually move into the Ronald McDonald House while they await the transplant surgery.
In the meantime, Jet also is receiving treatment at St. Louis Children's Hospital for his condition, in which there is an obstruction or blockage in the pulmonary veins that bring oxygen-rich blood back from the lungs into the heart.
Goodman said Jet is receiving medication to keep his lungs free of fluids. She said he also has needed three heart catherizations to open up his blood vessels.
There are no effective medications to relieve the obstruction, and that means a transplant operation to replace the lungs and obstructed pulmonary veins is the only way to provide relief for Jet.
After Jet receives his transplant, he will need to take immunosuppression drugs for the remainder of his life to prevent organ rejection.
To help Jet's family, a benefit will be held from 5 to 7 p.m. Friday at Balz Banquet Hall, 213 N. Sycamore, Goodman said.
The fundraiser will include a dinner including a pulled pork or chicken sandwich, au gratin potatoes and baked beans that will be available for $5, Goodman said. The event also will include a silent auction and a live auction.
Because expenses have been taken care of up front, all proceeds will benefit Jet and his family, Goodman said. As just one example, Whitey Richardson has donated the use of Balz Banquet Hall. Such donations have been made for every aspect of the dinner and two auctions.
Goodman said the Friday fundraiser will not be as large as The Knight, but it is similar to that event because it has a wide variety of items that will appeal to a broad range of people. Likewise, the auction items are in every price range, starting at $10 and going all the way up to items that cost thousands of dollars.
She estimated that more than 300 items have been donated to the benefit. Among the items are four hunting trips - one to Wyoming, two in Nebraska and one to Iowa - as well as a variety of guns and archery bows.
Goodman said the benefit will also include sports memorabilia, including a Bo Pelini autograph on a Husker helmet. She said art work from the Prairie Winds Art Center will be among the auction items. People also will be able to bid for flat screen TVs and laptop computers. Home interior items will be part of the auction as well.
She said three "driveways" - consisting of $4,500 worth of paving materials and labor - will also be part of the auction.
In addition to the formal benefit itself, people will be able to stop in at any Five Points Bank location and make a donation in care of Jet Hansen.