Nash family rejoices as transplant is a success

Mai Hoang

Four-year-old Presley Nash received a bone marrow transplant Friday that gave her a new lease on life. And she never got nervous.

But she was excited.

Presley’s father, Brian Nash, said his daughter was thrilled that the hospital allowed more than two people to be with her during the procedure.

Nash said the hospital usually only allows two people in Presley’s room at a time, but during the transplant, Presley’s parents, Brian and Staci Nash, her brother Will and two other family members provided moral support and took turns holding Presley’s hand.

“With everybody being in, her spirits were up,” Brian Nash said.

But while Presley kept a good attitude, her parents experienced a gamut of emotions that ran from excitement to nervousness to happiness when told the operation was a success.

The process, including a pre-medicine procedure, the transplant and a post-transplant flushing took less than an hour.

Back in Bowling Green, Allen Houchin, Presley’s grandfather, was waiting for news from the family. He breathed a sign of relief when he read the e-mail that announced the operation was a success and that Presley was doing fine.

He was even more relieved when he talked to his daughter and son-in-law on the phone that night and learned Presley was up and playing in her hospital room.

“Obviously (I was) very happy,” Houchin said. “It’s a sign that she’s feeling better. The chemotherapy made her quite sick. I’m glad she was getting over the chemotherapy sickness and could get up and do things and have a little bit of enjoyment.”

Although the operation was a success, Brian Nash said the next few weeks will be critical for Presley. Prior to the transplant she received chemotherapy that destroyed her immune system, thereby allowing her body to accept the new bone marrow.

Now that the new bone marrow is in her body, her immune system will be reforming during the next seven to 10 days. She may suffer several problems during that time, including mouth sores that would prevent her from eating or drinking, Nash said.

But her family is optimistic about Presley’s eventual full recovery.

“We don’t expect anything but that,” Nash said. “That doesn’t mean we’ll suffer setbacks.”

Presley will remain at Fairview University Medical Center in Minneapolis, Minn., for at least a month. Once she is discharged, she will remain in Minneapolis at the Ronald McDonald House for another six months while she receives treatment at an outpatient clinic.

Houchin said he plans on visiting Presley during that time.

“I’m just looking forward to everything progressing day after day,” he said.

The Nash family has not dropped its lawsuit against Western.

Western attorney John Grise said he sent detailed documentation of what the university would cover for the transplant to Nash attorney Janice Weiss.

Money from Western’s faculty and staff health insurance reserve fund is being used to cover the transplant and any legal fees from the lawsuit, minus a $1,400 deductible and co-payment from the family.

Right now, Grise said, the university is awaiting a response from Weiss.

“We’ve given them written confirmation of the coverage,” he said. “And I think that’s an important thing.”

Weiss could not be reached for comment.

Reach Mai Hoang at [email protected]