BRIDGEWATER—For Halloween he dressed up as the Incredible Hulk. He loves monster trucks, as well as dirt bikes, fishing, his PS3 and zipping around on his go kart. Ty Clark of Groton is a typical fourth grader at Bridgewater-Hebron Village School (BHVS)—except the disease he is battling isn't typical.
Bridgewater-Hebron fourth grade moms are hosting a spaghetti dinner fundraiser at the Bridgewater Town Hall on Friday, November 22 from 5 – 7 p.m. Dinner will be $5 per person, kids five and under eat free. There will also be raffle prizes, including a "Kimono" quilt made and donated by Linda Punturieri of Moultonborough, with all proceeds from the evening benefitting Ty and his family in his battle against lymphoma.
Ty was born with undersized kidneys. On June 8 of this year, Ty underwent a kidney transplant. At first things were going well, but subsequently he was diagnosed with an Epstein-Barr virus and infectious mononucleosis, which led to the development of post-transplant lymphoma. He spent five weeks over at Children's Hospital at Dartmouth (CHaD) at the beginning of the school year, and since October 5, has been traveling back to CHaD once a week for treatment. His 18-weeks of treatment are scheduled to end in early February 2014.
His mom, Heather, explains between the six medications he is taking, in-home nurse visits and the gas for trips back and forth to CHaD for chemo, the financial impact to their family has been significant. All the while, Ty can't take his anti-rejection medications for the new kidney. So far, so good, but the fear he could loose after all this does linger as a possibility.
For now it is one day at a time, and Ty is feeling fortunate to have had little to no side effects from the chemo—his hair has thinned a bit. He is keeping up on his school work with the help of a tutor and when his white blood cell count is up, he enjoys visiting his classmates at BHVS. Heather says, "This challenge has changed Ty in that he is more willing to share what is going on. He has grown up a bit as he has to speak up and be his own advocate. And he has learned his friends will be there for him no matter what. That is comforting to him."
Heather says she, her husband Roy, and other two sons Nathan and Dakota, have been overwhelmed and blessed by the support from all the surrounding towns. "It is amazing," she says. "You don't know it is out there until it happens. We were definitely surprised by how the community has come together to help."
To follow Ty's progress, visit his information page at: www.caringbridge.org/visit/tyclark.