December 6, 2013 5:35 PM Reporting Mary Robb Jackson
PITTSBURGH (KDKA) — Even tethered to the IV pole in his hospital room, Luke Lehue has all the moves playing pick-up hockey with a couple of pretty physical therapists.
He’s a fan.
“What’s his nickname? Luke’s mom prompts.
“Sid the kid,” answers Luke.
This kid though has had a time of it.
He came to Children’s Hospital for a new liver.
Last May, Luke – then 3-years-old – woke up screaming about a sharp pain in his shoulder.
“He had been playing the night before just fine,” says Lori, Luke’s mom.
The next day, Lori took her son to their pediatrician in Cleveland and then to the emergency room. A series of scans showed that Luke’s liver was enlarged and filled with tumors.
“It was like somebody punched me in the gut, and you don’t want to think that this is real,” said Lori.
Their beautiful boy had a rare malignant cancer. It was a Stage-3 Hepatoblastoma. Luke desperately needed a liver transplant.
His dad was at work.
“And the receptionist came running. She’s like, ‘Shawn, your wife’s on the phone and it’s an emergency.’ And I knew,” says Shawn.
With their newborn baby, Molly, the Lehue’s packed up and went to Pittsburgh.
On Sept. 5, during more than 10 hours of surgery at Children’s Hospital in Lawrenceville, Dr. Rakesh Sindhi, the director of Pediatric Transplants, gave Luke his new liver.
“One of the things that was wonderful about transplant night is that I slept the best I’d ever slept because I knew it was going to be gone,” said Lori. “He and I slept together in the bed, and it was the most peaceful night.”
Luke has completed two rounds of chemo, and two weeks after surgery the little guy was cancer free.
His big job now is crooning “Twinkle, Twinkle Little Star” when his baby sister is cranky.
Luke, now has a future, and it’s rosy, says Dr. Sindhi.
“The success rate of bringing about a permanent cure is at least seven in 10,” Dr. Sindhi said.
And Luke’s mom will never forget the kindness of everyone at Children’s Hospital.
“They hold my hand through everything, and I just think that the staff here is remarkable,” Lori said. “I don’t know what I would have done without them. I’m kind of petrified of going home without them.”