I Made a Promise to My Son

I Made a Promise to My Son

As instructed to Jaimie Seaton

When our son Aidan was in pre-K, the teachers needed to set him in a gifted faculty. But I felt like he was even now a newborn, and I wanted him to have a regular childhood and not be confused with schoolwork, so my spouse and I opted to hold him in the exact same faculty, in which he played soccer and chess. Even at that younger age, he was a great chess participant.

We had no reason to believe that that just about anything was incorrect with him or that just about anything was likely on in his physique right up until the latter aspect of initially grade, in late March, when Aidan started owning eyesight issues. He could not see peripherally. He would bump into things and he began writing on an angle, neither of which seemed a massive offer at that time. We just considered he needed glasses and that it would be an straightforward resolve.

Aidan in 2006
Aidan in 2006

We went to an ophthalmologist and a pediatric ophthalmologist, and they the two explained he experienced 20/20 vision. So, then we went to a retina specialist, our pediatrician, and last but not least to a neurologist who did a bodily checkup. He didn’t consider anything at all was completely wrong but advisable an MRI to be extensive.

When we acquired the effects of the MRI back in June, it was the first time we’d listened to about this ailment called adrenoleukodystrophy (ALD), which destroys the myelin in the brain and impacts males most severely. ALD impacts all facets of neurological working and with Aidan it affected his vision 1st. A person’s capacity to hear, see, stroll, chat and eat — all of that is finally taken absent right up until you are in a vegetative state and ultimately, die.

There was already a large amount of destruction done by the time Aidan was identified, and we knew we had to do everything we could to preserve his existence.

We experienced a excursion to Disney Earth currently prepared when we bought the analysis, and we decided it was crucial for our spouse and children to go. Aidan loved all the rides and was fearless. He did not know what was likely on, and we experimented with to make the very best of it. I’m grateful that we built that trip for the reason that it was the past factor we did as a household right before Aidan went into the hospital.

It was too much to handle to have our lives turned upside down from one particular 2nd to the future. Anything was fantastic — and then we acquired this everyday living-altering analysis. When that happens, you you should not truly have a whole lot of time to assume. We were being in this mode to conserve Aidan’s everyday living, and our choices had to be made really quickly.

There are a handful of hospitals in the region that have expertise in this condition, 1 of which is in Minnesota, so we were on a airplane to Minnesota the adhering to week. At that time, in 2011, the only treatment for ALD was a bone marrow transplant, and Aidan was eligible. This was our only alternative, so we opted for it and moved our household down to North Carolina so he could get treatment at Duke.

That was very tricky due to the fact we ended up residing in a town where we did not know everyone, nevertheless I’m grateful that Aidan’s grandparents arrived down and stayed with us and helped with our daughter, Sienna, who was 5 at the time.

We just lived working day by day, having turns dwelling in the healthcare facility since we never ever still left Aidan by yourself. It was turmoil, praying for a good result but having hit with extra and extra negative information.

Aidan gained his bone marrow transplant on his seventh birthday. But because he had a late-phase prognosis, he dropped all of his qualities and he expended 7 months in the clinic prior to being transferred to NYU, where by he spent an further 3 months.

On April 29, 2012, Aidan died at the age of 7 ½.

Aidan in 2010
Aidan in 2010

Although I was dwelling in the medical center, I did study on anything that could adjust the system of Aidan’s affliction, and I don’t forget lying in the bed with him and studying that there was a new child screening exam for ALD — but not just one condition was putting it to use. I realized that it would have meant the difference between daily life and death for Aidan as nicely as thousands of other boys out there. However this condition is scarce, it’s not that uncommon: It strikes 1 in 15,000. So why wasn’t the take a look at component of the regimen new child screening completed in each individual condition?

I identified as the new child screening lab in Albany as I lay in bed subsequent to Aidan. I bought one particular of the directors on the mobile phone and was instructed that they wanted ALD to be analyzed for, but, as a govt agency, their fingers were being tied.

I just realized at that instant that I wished to do every little thing I could to prevent this from happening to other boys and other people. By the stop of 2012, I experienced began a foundation in Aidan’s honor and embarked on a mission to have each individual newborn in New York screened for ALD.

Last but not least, immediately after about 6 months of fighting, Aidan’s Regulation was signed in New York, on March 29, 2013 — precisely 11 months to the day of shedding Aidan — earning it the initially point out in the nation to take a look at all toddlers born for ALD. Considering the fact that that time, our foundation, ALD Alliance, has labored in a lot of other states to add ALD screening. Currently we are tests for ALD in 29 states and doing the job towards federal laws to make certain each and every baby born through the nation is examined for all newborn screening ailments that have remedies.

I truly feel grateful to Aidan because I truly feel like I’m a motor vehicle, and my like for him retains me likely. I promised him that I would make this transpire before I died.

I have experienced the privilege of meeting the loved ones of a boy who was identified in New York, thanks to newborn screening accomplished because of Aidan’s Regulation. I was so grateful to meet them and to know that his existence will be different because of my son. Now, I’ve achieved lots of family members as we continue on our perform and hold annual ALD Benchmarks of Treatment Meetings every single January. I’m grateful and blessed to have these people in my lifetime and to know their life will be unique mainly because of new child screening.

I think Aidan would be proud of me.