TODAY'S NEWS

Superheroes to the rescue: Dinner planned to benefit boy, 4, with rare bone marrow disorder

The Warren Sentinel

FRONT ROYAL — A rare gene mutation has induced tribulations upon a local 4-year-old which would be difficult for any adult to handle. Mason Langlais suffers from a dyskeratosis congentia, which causes an array of medical issues including bone marrow failure.

When Ressie Jeffries Elementary School employee Carol Vorous heard about Langlais' diagnosis from his grandmother, Tammy Shell, she knew the family needed help to persevere through these difficult times.

So Vorous planned the ìTeam Super Heroî benefit dinner to help the Langlaises.

The dinner will be held 4 to 8 p.m. April 9 at the Front Royal Volunteer Fire Department at 221 N. Commerce Ave. Proceeds will be used to help the Langlaises with medical bills and other expenses.

The benefit will include musical performances by Soldiers of Suburbia, Charlee Allman and Slow Creek. There will also be a silent auction and raffles. Tickets are $12 in advance for adults, $15 at the door and kids under 12 are $7.

The night's theme will be superheroes, one of Langlais' passions. Coincidentally, the mutation's abbreviation (DC) is the same as the famous comic book publisher.

"He loves superheroes. He doesn't really have a favorite one, I think it depends on the week," Vorous said.

DC is so rare that that only three hospitals could provide treatment. The Langlais family had to temporarily relocate to Boston so Mason could receive a life-saving bone marrow transplant Jan. 20.

Mason and his parents, Jennifer and Patrick Langlais, are still in a Boston at a Ronald McDonald House. They will continue to reside there for a couple of months for continued treatment and to see if the transplant takes.

"I look at it, itís a family from here and they're in Boston away from their family and everybody and everything that they know. Their world has just turned upside down. The event is sort of their connection to us, just the fact that they know weíre trying to do something to help them," Vorous said.

The situation has been made all the more difficult because the family had to move out of their apartment and both parents cannot work while in Boston, Vorous said.

Langlais' early symptoms included low platelets and loss of appetite, weight and balance, Vorous said. It took months of visitations to a specialist before identifying the problem.

Before the transplant, Langlais underwent numerous blood transfusions, Vorous said. These could have continued, but not indefinitely.

"It was really hard on him physically and emotionally to have go and get all of these blood transfusions. So, they put him on the donor list," Vorous said.

The lifesaving transplant was completed with bone marrow from an anonymous donor, who also likely suffered a lot of pain to provide the donation.

"I know that it was extremely hard for the donor as well because they have to go through something called conditioning, and the donor also has to be admitted to the hospital to be prepared for the transplant," Vorous said.

As of now, the bone marrow transplant seems to be "going along the way it should," Vorous said.

Even if the transplant is successful, the mutation will likely cause future issues, Vorous said. But the family cannot stress about that now and must focus on Masonís body accepting the transplant.

"It's like anything else, you have to get over this hurdle before you can worry about what else might come down the line," Vorous said. "You just have to deal with the here and now."

For more information on the dinner, visit the Team Super Hero Facebook page. Monetary donations for the family can be made at www.youcaring.com/masonlanglais-706001.



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