Dying Jeannette boy to serve as parents' best man
Sean Stevenson breaks down in tears when he scrolls through photos of his terminally ill, 2-year-old son, Logan.
Each photo captured on Stevenson's cell phone is a reminder of a life cut short.
“It'll be the hardest thing I'll ever do is bury my son,” Stevenson said. “You know it's coming, and you can't do anything about it.”
While Logan spends his final days resting in his parents' Jeannette home, family members are planning an impromptu backyard wedding. Saturday's nuptials will be bittersweet for Stevenson and Christine Swidorsky, who have a tiny suit ready for their son.
“We want Logan in our family pictures, and we want him to see his mother and dad get married,” Swidorsky said.
With only fleeting moments left, Logan's parents nixed plans for a July 2014 wedding. Instead, he will serve as best man, and Swidorsky will carry him down the aisle on Saturday.
“It hurts so bad because Logan is such a loving child ... when I cry he wipes my tears away,” Swidorsky said. “Logan is a mama's boy.”
Logan's tumultuous life began on Oct. 22, 2010.
At 14 months, he was diagnosed with acute myeloid leukemia and had a stem cell transplant in July 2012. Several months later, Logan was diagnosed with a kidney tumor. In March, a kidney was removed.
“His entire life has been nothing but hospitals,” said Kellie Young, the boy's aunt.
The family went on a Make-A-Wish trip to Disney World in June, but Logan was taken to a Florida hospital with septic shock and hydration shock, Swidorsky said. A medical jet brought the boy home and he stayed in Children's Hospital in Pittsburgh until earlier this month, she said.
During a trip to the emergency room this month when Logan felt ill, a test revealed a mass in his remaining kidney. Logan has Fanconi anemia, a rare disease that often leads to cancer.
On Friday, doctors told Stevenson and Swidorsky that any further treatment would not be beneficial. Doctors gave the boy two to three weeks to live.
“The best thing for Logan is to be home with his parents,” Swidorsky said. “They said he would be in more pain in the hospital.”
Amid caring family members and medicine bottles, Logan lies wrapped in blankets and takes regular pain medication. He sleeps a lot, clutching his stuffed rabbit, “Bun Bun.”
“I just am thankful that I am able to bring my son home and have time with him and hold him before he goes,” Stevenson said. “So in that sense, I feel lucky that I at least get to say goodbye to my son ... and tell him it's going to be OK.”
Tents and other services have been donated for the ceremony and reception that will dually serve as a celebration of Logan's life.
“It's unbelievable how much I've learned to take care of my son,” Swidorsky said. “As a mother, you stay strong and you focus and you will do whatever you can to take care of your child.”
Swidorsky's daughter Isabella Johns, 13, will be a bridesmaid and the couple's 1-year-old daughter, Savannah, will be the flower girl.
Grandmother Debbie Stevenson has been helping to care for Logan and spends nights with him.
“I'm probably here more than I am at home,” she said. “I took some time off work so I can be with him. That's something I cherish, that I get to spend time with him.”
About 100 guests are expected for Saturday's celebration.
“He's a very special child,” Young said. “Logan has fought a bigger fight than most adults do.
“The minute you see him, you will fall in love with him like everybody else,” she said. “It's just been a roller coaster of every emotion possible.”
Renatta Signorini is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. She can be reached at 724-837-5374 or firstname.lastname@example.org.