In November 2013, Harrison Steiner (eight), grandson of Penny and Ron Petersen, was admitted to Phoenix Children’s Hospital and diagnosed with viral pneumonia. He had contracted a virus called adenovirus which developed into Bronchiolitis Obliterans (OB), a rare lung disease. OB causes the tiny airways, bronchioles, to become inflamed and the inflammation becomes scar tissue obliterating the lungs. This scarring is permanent and irreversible.
In Harry’s case, he went from being an active eight year old who longed to play football and basketball to not being able to cross the room without oxygen. After he was finally diagnosed with OB, treatment helped save what remained of the lungs from further inflammation being laid down as scar tissue.
At his worst, Harry had only 24 percent of his breathing capacity. He now has 30 percent. But because there is no research for OB, treatment is a doctor’s best guess from medications approved for other conditions. Although Harry is back in school, his oxygen machine goes with him everywhere.
Harry’s mom, Daisy Steiner, has spent the better part of her time since his diagnosis researching, looking for things that will assist Harry. She discovered “chILD Foundation” and became a member. Her training includes a Masters in Public Health which aided her search and understanding of the condition. chILD – Children’s Interstitial Lung Disease raises funds for research into several rare childhood lung diseases.
chILD ran a fundraising campaign in February and March called “Change for chILD.
People could donate by saving their change for two or three weeks, or they could just write a check. Penny and Ron Petersen, grandparents of Harry, appealed to friends and neighbors for donations and the result was amazing.
Many Sun Lakers saved their change. Others wrote checks. The total raised for research into Bronchiolitis Obliterans was $1,638. A majority of the funds came from members of the following organizations: Cottonwood Tennis Club, Sun Lakes Community Theatre, The Women of Watford Way and SLCC Bocce Ball Club.
The Petersens wish to express their gratitude for the generosity of their Sun Lakes friends and their interest in supporting Harry and his healing. They are “Harry’s Heroes.”
Now, the chILD Foundation has joined the Million Dollar Bike Ride. It is a fundraising bike ride to be held May 9. Every dollar donated by May 9 will be matched up to $50,000. The chILD Foundation has a Bronchiolitis Obliterans team in the race. If you wish to donate, check out the website at http://givingpages.upenn.edu/cureOB.