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Rare illness leaves former star ConVal athlete facing transplants

Union Leader Correspondent

February 06. 2012 10:55PM
Luke Mosher, whose life was once full of adventure, will likely spend the next year or more in isolation after receiving a liver and bone marrow transplant. (COURTESY)

PETERBOROUGH - In the blink of an eye, Luke Mosher went from star athlete with a bright future to a kid just trying to survive the ravages of a rare illness. Now he's facing both a liver and a bone marrow transplant and a year of isolation, but before that happens, his grandmother wants to make sure he has as much fun as possible.

In April 2011, just before he was about to graduate from ConVal High School, Mosher, 19 was diagnosed with Severe Aplastic Anemia. The disease, which affects around three out of a million people in America each year, causes the bone marrow to not make enough red and white blood cells and platelets to keep a body healthy.

Before he got sick, Mosher was a star athlete. He played lacrosse and loved extreme skiing, said his grandmother Georgia Goyette, and was one of the captains of the football team. He had received a football scholarship to Plymouth State, but turned it down so that he could focus on his academics for a year or two before trying to balance both. The future looked bright, but then in April, things changed quickly.

Mosher, who had spent the winter skiing like a madman at Crotched Mountain, suddenly found he couldn't run the length of the lacrosse field, Goyette said. And then he started developing bruises all over his body. A blood test was taken by his doctor and Mosher was immediately sent to a hematologist in Concord.

'The hematologist took one look at the test results and said, 'I want you to go get in the car and I want you to drive immediately to CHaD (Children's Hospital at Dartmouth),'' said Goyette.

That moment started what has become almost a year of hospital stays, infections, blood transfusions and even a bout with pneumonia at Christmas. Mosher underwent two rounds of chemotherapy which didn't reverse the course of his disease, so the only option left was a bone marrow transplant. However, what no one realized at the time was that Mosher also had an undiagnosed liver disease that was complicating matters. It was determined that he couldn't undergo a bone marrow transplant without a new liver, and couldn't have a new liver without a bone marrow transplant.

The plan at this point, said Goyette, is to do both transplants at the same time - a risky procedure but the only option left. If all goes well with the transplants, Mosher will be hospitalized at Massachusetts General Hospital in Boston for three months, during which time he will be in isolation because his body won't be able to fight off infections. The three months in Boston will be followed by nine months in quarantine at home, Goyette said.

Before the doors are shut on her grandson for a year, Goyette is trying to raise the funds to bring him to Disney World, a place he loved as a little boy.

'The doctors have told us to try and pack in as much of life as we can for Luke in these next few months, so that's what we're going to do,' she said.

Goyette is also trying to pull together donations to help her daughter Jennifer and son-in-law Dave Mosher make ends meet while the family is split between Boston and Peterborough.

'They have spent a fortune traveling back and forth to hospitals and staying in hotels so they can be close to Luke,' she said.

In order to help with the fundraising effort, friends are hosting a fundraiser at the Jaffrey American Legion on March 24 from 4 to 10 p.m. A page for the benefit has been created on Facebook to bring attention to Mosher's struggle at, and donations addressed to Benefit for Luke, Monadnock Community Bank, PO Box 888, 1 Jaffrey Road, Peterborough, NH 03458 are welcome.

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