Logan is a four-year-old boy who was diagnosed in 2022 with Aplastic Anemia, which is characterized by bone marrow failure when the body stops producing enough new blood cells. His mother, Elizabeth, a registered nurse, shares how Friends of Karen helped her, Logan and his twin sister Gianna, his older siblings Jayda and Jeremy, and his father Ismael as they coped with his diagnosis and treatment. Elizabeth was Logan’s donor for a bone marrow transplant and his condition is stable now.

“One day last summer my husband Ismael called to tell me that he noticed Logan suddenly had broken blood vessels all over his face and bruises on his body. Then Logan asked us to go to the doctor saying he was not feeling well. Up until this point, we had been doing well in our careers and had just moved into a new apartment the month before.

I have worked in all kinds of roles and settings in my nursing career, including in a pediatric ICU and in medical research. Even with my knowledge and background, getting Logan diagnosed was a very difficult and frustrating journey. As the doctors worked to eliminate all kinds of diagnoses, we watched helplessly as Logan got sicker. At one point he was hospitalized in the ICU with literally zero platelets and his urine was the color of red wine. A bone marrow test showed Logan’s body was in bone marrow failure, but doctors did not know why.

At that point my whole world was falling apart as we were expecting the worst. I couldn’t stop crying every day and I was losing weight. During that month, Logan had more tests and after another hospital stay, we found out that he had Aplastic Anemia. This is not a kind of anemia like the kind from a poor diet, but much more serious and the treatment is similar to how children are treated for cancer. Logan even lost his hair during treatment.

We are thankful our hospital social worker told us about Friends of Karen as we were trying to juggle everything going on. Our 20-year-old daughter Jayda had to help Ismael take care of Gianna and keep our home together. I had to stop working at my full-time job to be there for Logan and pick up public health nursing shifts here and there.

Our finances started getting tight and I don’t know what we would have done without Friends of Karen’s help to pay our phone, cable and light bills. Our Friends of Karen social worker Alyssa was always there for us. She is amazing and I can call or text her anytime. Alyssa always tries to find a solution for whatever issue comes up, she keeps her word and always calls me back, and there is never any judgement when we speak.

Everything Friends of Karen does for our family is a big deal for us. When Christmas was coming, I had not been working and we worried about gifts for the kids. Friends of Karen sent gifts for the kids with wrapping paper, bows, and tape. Thinking about that it’s so moving it gives me chills. Logan and Gianna met with Siobhan, a Friends of Karen art therapist, who was so good at what she was doing to help them. I also joined the support group for parents whose children were recently diagnosed, and it has been really helpful.

We are thankful that Friends of Karen’s support has helped us live so we have more time for Logan and his care. Right now, everything is stable and knowing they are here for us gives me peace of mind.”

Ways to give

Bring critically ill children and their families the HOPE they deserve all year long. As a Guardian of Hope, you Donate Monthly. With your help, children will receive the emotional support they need

Leave your imprint to benefit future generations. Naming Friends of Karen in your estate plans will continue to impact the lives of critically ill children and their families well into the future.

Friends of Karen believes that families can maintain a sense of balance and stability even in the midst of the crisis of caring for a child with a life-threatening illness.