Dodge City parents credit St. Jude for saving son’s life

Andrew, Paula, Cara, and Nick Mueting

DODGE CITY, Kan. (KSNW) – At four months old, Andrew Mueting was diagnosed with osteopetrosis, a rare genetic condition.

“His bones just kept getting harder and harder and harder,” his mother Paula explained, “and eventually, kids with this condition usually die by the age of 10.”

Andrew is 12 now, thanks to a bone marrow transplant technique that was only available at St. Jude at the time.

“It was a research protocol that they were using where a parent was the donor,” said Paula, “and in his case especially, it was important to move fast to transplant to preserve the health that he had.”

It was a rough few months of treatment, but Paula will always remember the moment she first got to hold Andrew.

“It was Mother’s Day. My first Mother’s Day, and they, it was an ordeal, but they got him over into our arms and really, he did, he started to do a lot better.”

12 years later, the bone marrow he received from his dad Nick has held, effectively curing Andrew.

He’s legally blind, but that’s not holding him back.

“I’ve even gone undefeated five rounds in the quiz bowl and got first in my age group in the science fair,” said Andrew.

From their first St. Jude visit, the family felt at home, and not just because of the doctors and nurses.

“Custodian, security guards,” said Paula.

“Lunch ladies,” Nick added.

“Lunch ladies,” Paula agreed. “Every single person on that campus has a heart that is amazing.”

Returning for checkups is always positive.

“For us,” said Nick, “every time we go back to Memphis, every time we go to St. Jude, it’s essentially a homecoming.”

“It became his Disney World,” said Paula.

Now, the whole family gives back, regularly running in charity marathons, half marathons, and 5Ks.

“I’ve been there,” said Nick, “I’ve lived it, so it’s easy for me to go running for the kids of St. Jude.”

Nick and Paula say Andrew is doing “fantastic.”