Photos courtesy Nolan The Champ’s HLH Journey Facebook Page
At just 9 months old, Nolan “The Champ” Lanza is in for the fight of his life.
On Monday, May 14, little Nolan will undergo a stem cell transplant in order to combat his Hemophagocytic Lymphohistiocytosis (HLH), which is a life-threatening immunodeficiency that has taken its toll on his organs and blood cells.
According to Brian Polston, Nolan’s grandfather, the stem cells are coming from Italy, and once the transplant is complete, not only will it cure his HLH, it will also change Nolan’s blood type from A to O.
“He will be full-blooded Italian,” Polston said jokingly.
Which is why his family has dubbed May 14 as his “re-birthday,” since Nolan will have a new chance at a life free of HLH.
“We are beyond excited,” posted Nolan’s mom, Katie Lanza, on his Facebook page. “It’s going to be an emotional day for sure.”
In the weeks leading up to the transplant, Nolan has undergone a regimen of chemotherapy and Antithymocyte Globulin (ATG) conditioning to hopefully reduce the risk of rejection. He has also had to have a blood transfusion, spiked fevers, and bouts of difficulty breathing because the conditioning has depleted his immune system in preparation for the transplant.
According to the Nolan the Champ’s HLH Journey Facebook page, Nolan was officially done with chemo on Friday, May 11, and was his happy little self again over the weekend. Even when he was feeling awful and exhausted, he still managed to fill the room with smiles.
The weeks following the transplant will also be rough for Nolan, possibly getting worse before it gets better. As with any transplant, there are many risk factors like rejection, infection, fever, nausea and painful sores as the stem cells engraft and grow throughout his body.
His family is asking for everyone to keep Nolan in their thoughts and prayers as he progresses on this journey.
Keep smiling and fighting, Nolan the Champ!
Follow Nolan the Champ on his journey by liking his Facebook page at https://www.facebook.com/nolansHLHjourney/