Local Child Expecting Bone Marrow Transplant
A couple of years ago, the LCL featured the story of Chris McGlothlin of Marceline, a senior at MHS who at the time was a two-sport athlete playing through the pain of Crohn‘s Disease. A disease like Crohn’s is hard enough to deal with as a teenager, but imagine dealing with it all of your life as a small child. This is the plight of Landon Kennedy of Brookfield, the son of Kris and Christine Kennedy.
“The biggest challenge is to make sure that Landon’s day is consistent with any other child,” said Christine. “There are days he doesn’t want to leave the home. Crohn’s really affects his sodium levels, and he really has a hard time with some things. We want him to feel as normal as possible.”
What is Crohn’s Disease
From the website www.crohnsonline.com: “Crohn’s is an inflammatory bowel disease (IBD) that causes inflammation of the lining of your digestive system, which can lead to flare-ups.”
Essentially, Crohn’s makes it hard to gain weight, be active, or have energy. As a small child, this can put quite the emotional and physical strain on a developing body and mind.
“He was diagnosed at 18 months old,” said Christine. “He is now eight years old. We were in awe; we didn’t know what the disease was going to do, what we were looking at, how bad it was.”
Christine continued: “No one we knew was very educated on the disease. More people have it than we know of; it’s a very secretive disease. People don’t talk about it; they generally don’t talk about what they do in the restroom.”
A Special Bond
Landon has some special allies in his fight with Crohn’s Disease...the Brookfield High School football seniors. This is due, mostly to the fact that senior safety Cooper Chaffee is Landon’s Uncle. Cooper wears a mouthpiece at games with the letters “LK” on it in for his nephew.
“Cooper and he are pretty tight,” said Christine. “The whole senior football team is like siblings to him. They are so good to him.”
“Me and Landon have been close,” said Cooper. “Ever since we found out about this sickness it has drawn us closer. Time is a precious thing.”
Landon got to take part, when he physically could, in the Brookfield Pee Wee football league this season. This connection with football is a strong one for a little boy and his hero, his Uncle.
“Football means a lot to him,” agreed Cooper. “He grew up watching me play football. He couldn’t see me against Trenton because he was in the hospital, so this win was for him.”
The Community Responds
An e-mail received by this reporter from Landon’s Aunt, Kim Zahner, got the ball rolling to point out the support of family and friends. From Zahner’s original e-mail:
“The family [has] been dealing with this since he was just a baby and Landon’s Crohn’s has done nothing but get worse. I cannot tell you how many times he has been in the hospital. Landon has to be one of Children’s Mercy’s favorite little patients. He has lived with a colostomy bag for the last several years and topping off everything they have a one year old (Conon), and he was diagnosed with Crohn’s disease too. Both continue to be in and out of the hospital. As you can see, a bone marrow transplant is in Landon’s very near future.”
A benefit will be held on November 10 for Landon and his family at Reel Time Cinema in Brookfield. There will be: a 10 a.m. and Noon movie matinee, a 5K/10K run/walk the morning before the show, as well as a chili/dessert benefit and silent auction.
They will also be selling Team Landon t-shirts and bracelets. The order forms were sent home from school with the Brookfield Elementary students, and must be turned in no later than November 5.
“We are really grateful for all of the support,” said Christine. “The people close to us, those who know Landon, it means a lot to our family to have that support.”