To call Lynn Hampson's son Logan “very active” would be an understatement.
“He literally does not stop moving and we would like him to slow down for five minutes,” she says of her seven-year-old.
A sports-loving kid, he has been swimming since he was two, plays baseball and soccer in the summer and hockey in the fall.
But the Hamilton youngster’s size, in combination with his ambition to play football, instills a degree of worry in his mother. The recipient of a liver transplant — Lynn donated part of hers — when he was one year old, Logan is only 37 lbs., 20 to 30 lbs. lighter than the average child his age.
That’s why his mother has launched an online fundraising campaign to send Logan to New Brunswick this summer to the 2014 Transplant Games, so he can compete with other child athletes who have gone through similar experiences.
Taking place July 7 to 12, the multi-sport tournament is open to anyone five and older who has had an organ or bone marrow transplant.
A friend whose child had a heart transplant has been encouraging the Hampsons involve Logan in the bi-yearly games. The last round took place in Alberta and Hampson said they simply couldn’t afford the trip.
Crowd-funding seemed like the best way to make it reality this time around.
It costs $250 per person to go to the Transplant Games even if you are not competing, said Hampson. They put you up in a hotel, feed you, and you get access to the ceremonies and games, but it doesn’t include travel arrangements.
'He’s like ‘whatever, I had a transplant. Big deal.' '—Lynn Hampson, speaking about her son Logan
She thinks it would be a fantastic experience for Logan to go and meet other children who have faced similar challenges.
“He’s like ‘whatever, I had a transplant. Big deal,’ ” said Lynn, but she thinks going to the games and meeting these other children would change his perspective.
“I’m pretty sure his mind will be blown away.”
They have already signed up to go, and Logan has decided to complete in events including bowling, swimming, washer toss, 50-meter race, and ball toss.
Two parents, two children, two transplants
Logan, born on August 18, 2007, first fell ill four months after being born. He started throwing up and Lynn took him to the hospital and was simply told to keep him hydrated.
A few days later, he started looking yellow and the doctors ordered blood work. By the following Monday he was extremely yellow. He was admitted to the McMaster children’s hospital and two weeks later, he was taken to SickKids in Toronto.
Then, his blood work improved and they took him home. For almost a year, everything seemed fine until in the winter of 2009, when he got sick again and tests showed his liver was about to fail.
Logan would need a transplant and Lynn volunteered to give her son part of her liver. They went into surgery on May 28, 2009, and both came out safe and healthy.
Two year later, almost to the day, Lynn and husband Jason had their second child, Alyson. The doctors said chances were slim that the same thing would happen to another one of their kids. However, even months after being born, Alyson’s liver was going to fail too. This time, Jason would donate a portion of his liver.
Again, a successful surgery, but Alyson would have more surgeries, as the liver could not be fully placed in her stomach yet because of her young age and size.
Alyson too has made a full recover. However other health issues have been prominent in her life since. Lynn says every four to six weeks Alyson is coming down with pneumonia. She is prescribed antibiotics, gets better, and then gets it again. The doctors currently don’t have answers why this is happening.
Growing as a family
Lynn says despite how dramatic and intense these situations have been, they have helped the family grow and realize what is important.
'I think my son takes after me more than he does my husband... I never stop.'—Lynn Hampson
“Take the opportunity. Be with your family. Work will always be there... but you kind of have to live in the moment,” Hampson said.
“What’s going to matter is that we went to this thing, had a great time, and Logan had a great experience. It’s not going to matter in five years that I took a week off work.”
Lynn thinks her family kind of crazy and very busy. She is currently studying recreational therapy at Mohawk College and her husband works for CN Rail.
“I think my son takes after me more than he does my husband... I never stop.”
You can visit the Hampsons' fundraising site here.