Friends hosting fundraiser for Hychalk child |

Friends hosting fundraiser for Hychalk child

This smiling child is Lucas Hychalk. He was born with a rare blood disorder and is recovering from a bone marrow transplant. Friends of the Hychalk family are hosting a fundraiser Wednesday evening at Mango's in Red Cliff.

RED CLIFF, Colorado – When a baby arrives, people ask about it.

For Daniel and Zuzana Hychalk, the answer can take a long time.

“We’re doing the same as Lucas is doing. If his tests are good, we’re good. If they’re not, that’s a tough day,” Daniel said.

Lucas Hychalk was born May 14, 2010, in Vail. He’s less than a year old and has survived radiation treatments, a bone marrow transplant, viruses, respiratory distress, the common cold and Wiskott-Aldrich Syndrome – a rare blood disorder.

“That little guy has been a fighter the whole way,” Daniel said. “The doctors like where he is right now.”

He’s recovering, is where he is.

It happened like this. At 5:45 p.m., Zuzana checked into the hospital to give birth to their second child. Gabriel is Lucas’s older brother. Lucas was born at 6:30 p.m., just 45 minutes later.

“It was so fast his lungs didn’t have time to get ready,” Daniel said.

Soon, it was obvious his lungs weren’t Lucas’ only problem. They drew his blood to run tests and more tests, but that can be slow.

“They can only take so much blood from a baby,” Daniel said.

They had enough to find Wiskott-Aldrich Syndrome. It’s found overwhelmingly in small boys. It’s characterized by eczema, low blood platelet count, immune deficiency, bruising and bleeding and bloody diarrhea.

He needed a bone marrow transplant or the baby wouldn’t be long for this world.

Before his bone marrow transplant, though, doctors thoroughly examined Lucas looking for surprises. They found some, and not the pleasant kind.

After suffering from a virus and other problems that postponed for weeks the bone marrow transplant that would save his life, Lucas was admitted to Children’s Hospital in Denver in early January.

His bone marrow transplant was 87 days ago. The Hychalk family keeps track like a life depends on it, because it does.

At 100 days, the doctors will do another test.

This they do by drilling a hole into Lucas’s bone to take some bone marrow. This will be his second test. They also did one at 28 days. He’ll go through it again at the one-year mark.

Fourteen days after the transplant, he was diagnosed with two more severe complications. His liver was swelling and clogging from the radiation. That was pouring fluids into his abdomen, which enlarged like it was trying to burst, Daniel said.

Then his large intestine got a hole in it, so he couldn’t anything for a week, because it would push more bacteria into his body.

Finally, he’s getting better.

Lucas was discharged to Brent’s Place, a safe-clean facility for families of bone marrow transplant patients. He’ll be there through at least this month, maybe longer. Zuzana and Gabriel are there with him while Daniel keeps working as a ski instructor.

Friends are planning several fundraisers, and that brings us to Wednesday at Mango’s. Barb Smith, Red Cliff town clerk, helped put this one together.

“He’s a friend of the bar and a friend of Barb Smith (Red Cliff town clerk),” said Chris Keran, Mango’s manager. “Any friend of the bar and Barb’s is a friend of ours.”

Staff Writer Randy Wyrick can be reached at 970-748-2935 or

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