Community encouraged to show support for Tyler Haudberg

PERU - Three-year-old Tyler Haudberg has already traveled a tough road in his young life.

Tyler was born April 22, 2006, to parents Scott and Darci Haudberg of Peru, and was initially thought to be healthy. However, at five weeks old, he suffered from respiratory distress and was admitted to the pediatric intensive care unit at Fletcher Allen Health Care in Burlington, Vt. Since then, Tyler has been hospitalized more than 20 times and, recently admitted to Boston Children's Hospital in Massachusetts where he stayed for nearly three months.

The only diagnosis doctors can give the Haudbergs is that Tyler has an unknown type of chronic lung disease and suffers from pulmonary hypertension, which has damaged his heart and caused his oxygen levels to fall dangerously low. In January 2008, doctors inserted a feeding tube into Tyler's stomach to decrease chances of aspiration and reflux into his lungs. Among a host of other medical conditions, Tyler also suffers from a weakened immune system, neurological abnormalities and developmental delay.

"It's hard for him to be like a typical little boy," said Darci Haudberg.

Doctors are examining him to see if it would be best for him to receive a double-lung transplant, said his mother.

"[The doctors] feel like he needs a lung transplant, but he may not necessarily be a candidate for it," said Haudberg. "If he does need a double lung transplant, it's very possible that he would need a heart as well."

Among the tests doctors are performing is a genetic test for a lysosomal storage disease, a condition which interferes with the body's ability to break down certain molecules. The results of that test, said Haudberg, are expected to take about a month to receive.

If the test comes back positive, Tyler may not be able to have transplant surgery, she added.

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