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Cokato teen recovers from second bone marrow transplant
May 30, 2011

Siblings host ‘Hoop for Hope’ benefit Friday, June 3 at DQ

By Kristen Miller
News Editor

COKATO, MN – In March 2008, Taylor Tenhoff of Cokato was diagnosed with severe aplastic anemia, and two months later had a successful bone marrow transplant, thanks to his sister, Katie.

In October 2010, Taylor, who is now 13 years old, was told the bone marrow transplant that doctors had originally said was “picture perfect” had failed after only two years.

As a result, Taylor needed to have a second bone marrow transplant in February, which has been successful thus far.

Because bone marrow transplants typically don’t fail after only two years, there was a whole new protocol written specifically for him, wrote Taylor’s mother, Monica, on his CaringBridge site.

“The doctor told him that he would be helping other kids in the future with these new medical breakthroughs,” she wrote.

Prior to the transplant, Taylor lived off of other people’s blood for four months because he didn’t have marrow to make his own, she said, emphasizing just how important it is for people to donate blood.

Taylor also received chemotherapy to treat lymphoma after he became infected with the Epstein-Barr Virus, which has been found to have a strong link to lymphoma, Monica explained.

To make matters worse, Taylor also contracted both a staph and strep infection in his blood.

“He was on Tylenol around- the-clock for a whole month,” Monica said, explaining his temperature was never below 102 degrees, and sometimes was as high as 106 degrees.

Taylor was in the hospital for the month following the transplant, and then needed to stay in close proximity to the hospital for 100 days in case there were any complications.

Taylor officially came home May 17, and is doing well.

“He still has a long road of recovery to do,” Monica said, adding that he is on immune suppressant drugs that come with many precautions.

For example, Taylor needs to wear a mask outside and in public to filter out germs and mold spores that can cause potentially fatal illnesses.

After missing nearly a year of school, Taylor plans to return next fall and move on to eighth grade with his classmates.

Hoop for Hope

Ever since his first transplant more than two years ago, Taylor has been a HopeKid.

“HopeKids is really great,” Taylor said. “It’s made me really happy.”

HopeKids is a nonprofit organization that provides free events and activities for children with life-threatening medical conditions and their families. The ultimate goal of HopeKids is to give kids hope to fight their illness and be encouraged by others.

“It gives kids something to do that’s normal . . . and it makes it safe for kids to go out and have fun,” he said.

Through HopeKids, Taylor has participated in a variety of activities such as going to movies, go-karting, and atttending Twins and Minnesota Gopher games. He was even able to meet some of the big-name players.

To help support and raise money for HopeKids, the Tenhoff family and friends are participating in the third annual 5K Suburban Adventure Walk and Run Saturday, June 4 in Lakeville.

To raise money for Taylor’s team, he and his siblings are hosting Hoop For Hope, featuring the Cokato Hoop Troop, Friday, June 3 at the Cokato Dairy Queen.

The event will begin at 7:30 p.m. and will include family-friendly entertainment provided by the Cokato Hoop Troop – a group of young people who perform a variety of tricks using illuminated objects, including glow-in-the-dark hula hoops.

Attending performers will be: Stephanie Tenhoff, Heidi (Tenhoff) Jenkins, Becky (Tenhoff) Herzog, Katie (Tenhoff) Richter, Roxie Tenhoff, Tucker Tenhoff, Taylor Tenhoff, Laura Kollash and Mario Ulloa.

Audience members will be entertained by hula hooping, glow-in-the-dark hooping, a fire show, and glow-in-the-dark poi (balls on strings). There will also be a chance for the crowd to show their hooping skills and win prizes.

The event is open to the public and a free will offering will be taken in support of HopeKids.

Taylor’s family has also appreciated the opportunities the organization has provided, and this is a way for them to give back to a worthy cause, said his sister, Roxie.

“One of the reasons I have personally enjoyed HopeKids is because while Taylor and my mom stayed at the hospital for the last seven months and also the eight months, they stayed in the cities two years ago, HopeKids gave our family time together in a safe environment for Taylor,” Roxie said. “HopeKids is about the patient, parents, and siblings going through an ordeal together.”

This event is sponsored by: Cokato Dairy Queen, Cowgirl Tuff Co., Radar Scan Technologies, and many other individuals.

To donate to Taylor’s team online or to learn more about HopeKids, click here.

Visit Taylor’s CaringBridge site to read his full story.

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