Nash family prepares as day of transplant draws closer

Mai Hoang

Four-year-old Presley Nash is scheduled to have a bone marrow transplant tomorrow at Fairview University Medical Center in Minneapolis, Minn.

It may save her life.

Hundreds of miles away, in Bowling Green, Nash’s grandfather, Allen Houchin, worries what his young granddaughter will face 24 hours from now.

“I am concerned because anytime you have any major medical procedure, there are things that can go wrong that are unforeseen or unexpected,” he said.

But when Houchin doesn’t show those feelings when he talks to his granddaughter’s parents, Staci Nash, a Western employee, and Brian Nash. Instead, he said he offers assurance that everything will be OK.

That Presley will be fine.

Houchin talks to his granddaughter by phone everyday. He looks forward to those phone calls, listening to Presley talk excitedly about the drawings and paintings she has worked on in the hospital.

The little girl keeps a positive attitude. She doesn’t realize that tomorrow’s transplant is meant to save her life.

“She just thinks she is a little sick, and she’s going to get better and everything is going to work out,” Houchin said.

Presley’s positive attitude keeps Houchin going. He misses his granddaughter, having not seen her since she was taken to Minnesota in August.

While Presley and her parents have been away, Houchin has posted campaign signs for Brian Nash, a Bowling Green city commission candidate. He takes Presley’s brother, Will, to football practice.

It’s Houchin’s way of providing support for his family. And it takes his attention away from his worries.

“There are a lot of things we can’t control,” he said. “We just have to put our faith in the ones that do control it – the doctors, the nurses and the Lord Almighty – and hope it works the way we want.”

Houchin and other relatives aren’t the only ones concerned for Presley. Across the country, friends and acquaintances are praying, hoping that her transplant is a success.

Gary Rowan, pastor of St. James United Methodist Church, is one of them.

He heard about Presley’s situation only a few months ago, but he said he knew his church was doing the right thing when it decided to help out.

Along with other churches in the area, St. James raised more than $3,600 for Presley’s transplant with a benefit concert and golf tournament.

Rowan said he prays for Presley daily.

“When I look at Presley, I see one of my little girls,” he said. “It could’ve been one of them . I’m one of those weirdos that thinks every little girl should grow up and have a happy life.”

At Rockfield United Methodist Church, pastor Kevin Burney said Presley is often a topic of conversation during social occasions and prayer in church services. Congregation members have sent her e-mails, birthday cards and jars filled with pennies to show their support.

“It’s drawn us together behind a common cause of reaching out to the family,” Burney said.

Staci and Brian Nash have set up a Web site to keep supporters posted on their daughter’s condition and daily activities.

The site has received 7,300 hits to date, and the family has received notes of sympathy and prayers from people all over the country.

The support has touched the family.

“Thanks for checking in on us – the guest book brings much joy into our lives!” Staci Nash wrote in a recent journal entry on the site.

The Nash family could not be reached for comment.

Reach Mai Hoang at [email protected]