Meet Hank. Is he the cutest or what?
What if you had a normal, healthy rambunctious little boy — two actually — and then you found out that one of them was not going to grow up and live a long life?
What if you found out one of your sons was literally was going to have the life sucked right out of his muscles, little by little, year by year, and instead of growing stronger and stronger, he was going to grow weaker and weaker?
This is the diagnosis that Iris Dunaway and Solly Perry have had to grapple with regarding their son Hank.
Hank has Duchenne, a type of muscular dystrophy. And there is no way to cure it.
Duchenne muscular dystrophy is the most common fatal genetic disorder diagnosed in childhood, affecting approximately 1 in every 3,500 live male births (about 20,000 new cases each year). Because the Duchenne gene is found on the X-chromosome, it primarily affects boys; however, it occurs across all races and cultures.
Duchenne results in progressive loss of strength and is caused by a mutation in the gene that encodes for dystrophin. Because dystrophin is absent, the muscle cells are easily damaged. The progressive muscle weakness leads to serious medical problems, particularly issues relating to the heart and lungs. Young men with Duchenne typically live into their late twenties.
More at http://www.parentprojectmd.org/site/PageServer?pagename=Understand_about
home for hank from Jesi van Leeuwen on Vimeo.
I’m sharing this video and this fundraiser for Hank over at GoFundMe.com in hopes that folks who feel called will give to this cause. I don’t think it’s possible to put ourselves in Iris and Solly’s shoes without wanting to do something that might help.
Iris is a special person to our family because she was Samantha’s babysitter when she was a baby. I found Iris by posting a request on a Western Washington University job board.
Iris was not yet married and did not have any children of her own when she was Samantha’s babysitter. But she was a total pro, and was absolutely passionate about child development. She still is. I could not believe how lucky we got. I still can’t.
When Samantha was two and a half, Jason graduated from Western with his second degree and we moved to Wilsonville, so he could take the job at the high school.
I was sad but not too sad about leaving Bellingham. It’s a cool place, I could say a lot of nice things about it and the people there, but it wasn’t somewhere I wanted to settle for good. But Bellingham will always be the place where Samantha was born, and it will always have a special place in our hearts as long as Iris lives there.
A few years ago, the last time we were in Bellingham, we met up with Iris and her two boys, Hank and Dean, on the green behind Village Books. Hank rode his bike all over kingdom come and I pushed Dean around on his little scooter toy until I was worn out. Both of the boys were completely fearless. By the time we parted, it was clear to me that Iris had her hands full with these two rambunctious little guys…and was totally happy to be their mom.
We did not know then that Hank had an illness. And there was not a speck of evidence of one. And somehow that just makes this reality all that much harder to swallow.
One of the problems with illnesses like this is that in addition to being devastating, they usually comes with huge price tags. In Iris and Solly’s case, Hank’s illness is going to require a lot of money they don’t have and could not possibly raise on their own.
So, if you feel moved to make a donation to A Home For Hank, you would be doing us all a really big favor and making a terrible and terrifying situation a little more tolerable.
Thank you so much for your consideration. Every donation is a blessing and a help. You can donate by clicking here.
And if you pray, or even just send good mojo, please send some up to Bellingham, Washington to Hank and his family. Because they could most certainly use it, today and during the many challenging days to come.
This was Hank (front, left, in the Spidey suit) a few years ago, when we all met up in Bellingham.