Perryville boy returns from hospital stay

Monday, October 29, 2007
Recently released from St. Louis Children's Hospital, 2-year-old Jacob Lyerla still awaits a final diagnosis on his medical condition. A benefit will be held Nov. 6 to help pay for his family's medical expenses. (Submitted photo)

PERRYVILLE, Mo. -- Although 2-year-old Jacob Ryan Lyerla of Perryville was released from St. Louis Children's Hospital on Oct. 18, his parents, Matt and Crystal, and his brothers are still on an emotional roller coaster.

They are awaiting a plan of treatment for a general diagnosis of histiocytosis, described by the Histiocytosis Association of America as a rare blood disease caused by an excess of white blood cells.

The cells cluster and can attack different parts of the body, including the skin, bones and nervous system.

The majority of those diagnosed are younger than 10, according to the association. There are many different types of the disease.

Jacob was released with orders to wear a mask due to his immunocompromised condition, and he must remain in an environment free of bacteria.

He cannot go to day care, forcing his mother to stay home despite the family's need of her paycheck.

Though the family has insurance, they are still required to pay 20 percent of the hundreds of thousands of dollars spent on medical bills.

In September, Ryan spent a week at Southeast Missouri Hospital before transferring to St. Louis Children's Hospital where he spent the next three weeks.

For 14 days, his temperature would not come down below 104 degrees. In addition to a battery of medical testing, Jacob had a nickel-sized piece of his skull removed to help determine a final diagnosis.

His grandmother, Christina Streiler of Anna, Ill., said, "It's scary not knowing what he's got."

Streiler said she feels the power of prayer is keeping him from feeling too much pain. "He's on a prayer chain at First Baptist Church in Jackson and other places."

A benefit has been planned from 5 to 9 p.m. Nov. 6 at the Ponderosa Restaurant in Perryville. Family members and disc jockeys from Withers Broadcasting will be waiting tables for tips, and 50 cents of every entree will be given to a fund set up to help pay Jacob's medical costs.

Contributions can also be made by calling First State Community Bank of Perryville at 573-547-5500 or asking about the Jacob Ryan Lyerla Benefit Foundation, No. 33511, at any First State Community Bank.

cpagano@semissourian.com

335-6611, extension 133

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