MARENGO – Marengo teen Logan Vallee, 16, faces months of recuperation after undergoing a heart transplant this week, which came after two weeks of waiting at Lurie Children’s Hospital in Chicago.
Logan was born with a heart defect, and the family knew he eventually would need a transplant.
The family has lived in Marengo for nearly 20 years, and the community has rallied around the family in its time of need.
When Logan was admitted, the family didn’t know how long it would have to wait for a heart to become available. Doctors gave an estimated wait time of six weeks to seven months, said Logan’s mother, Trish Vallee.
“We just [had] to hope and pray for the perfect match,” she said. “It’s kind of heart-wrenching, too, knowing that someone else’s loved one has to die for ours to survive.”
Logan was born with hypoplastic left heart syndrome, a birth defect that affects blood flow. The teenager has had eight open-heart surgeries, 11 strokes and two seizures from epilepsy during the course of his life, his mother said.
Family members knew the surgery was going to be necessary down the road, but they were hoping it could wait until he was a little older.
Community support for Logan – who his mother described as caring, sweet and unbelievably strong – has been overwhelming, Trish Vallee said.
“I am blessed with an amazing group of girlfriends, and they started making T-shirts that say #TeamLogan,” she said. “The website was up for two days and sold 300 shirts. … School support has been phenomenal. We are very blessed.”
Logan likely will be in the hospital for another two to three weeks before going to the Ronald McDonald House for follow-up care to make sure his body doesn’t reject the new heart, family friend Stacy Scow said.
“The best-case scenario is for him to be home in six to eight weeks, but it kind of depends on how he does there,” Scow said. “And after that, he still has to go down to the hospital a few times a week for infusions to help with chances against rejections.”
Scow said that Team Logan is working on organizing fundraising events for the Vallee family. At a recent Marengo High School basketball game, students wore red in support of their classmate.
“It makes me cry just thinking of it,” Scow said. “The support has been overwhelming.”
To buy a Team Logan shirt, visit www.booster.com/teamloganvallee.