Antietam Elementary School student Brett Kraynak has cancer, but he and his family try not to notice that too much.
“We don’t think about it. We keep things normal,” said Pam Kraynak, the 11-year-old Brett’s mother.
“We just do what we have to do and have a good time,” she said.
Brett’s first round of medical problems started when he was 8 months old and needed organ transplants.
“He was the youngest liver and kidney transplant in the world,” Pam Kraynak, 35, said.
In 1998, Brett’s transplanted kidneys failed and his father John Kraynak, now 42, donated one of his kidneys.
For six years everything went along fine.
Then about a year ago, Brett showed signs of a viral infection.
On his 11th birthday his mother noticed a swollen lymph gland on the left side of Brett’s neck and the doctors diagnosed post-transplant lymphoproliferative disease.
He’s in chemotherapy now.
The bills are piling up and the creditors are calling.
“We get bill collectors at 8 a.m. saying ‘We’re going to send you to collections.’ I say, ‘I know a really good place,’ ” Pam Kraynak said.
The Kraynaks can have $30,000 worth of medications in their refrigerator at any one time.
They have insurance, but that only goes so far, said Pam Kraynak, the mother of four.
“Insurance covers so much, but 20 percent of $1 million is still something ridiculous,” she said.
To help defray some of the bills, the Brett Kraynak Benefit Committee will throw a dance with live music and hold a silent auction May 21 at St. Elizabeth Ann Seton Catholic Church in Lake Ridge, said Teri Tracey, dance and auction co-coordinator.
It’s $20 to get in and anyone can come, Tracey said.
Hors d’oeuvres and beer and wine will be served between 7 and 10 p.m., so consider the event at 12805 Valleywood Drive in Lake Ridge, an adults only affair, Tracey said.
Pam Kraynak said she’s very excited about the dance and said people have been doing nice things like that since the diagnosis and she can’t thank them enough.
In fact she can’t thank them at all because many of the good deeds have come anonymously.
During Christmas, a Secret Santa put presents on their doorstep for 13 days.
A huge Easter basket came from Antietam Elementary School.
“It amazes me,” Pam Kraynak said. “So many nice people have been so cool to us.”
The good deeds help.
“There’s so much positive stuff that there’s not really time to think about the bad stuff,” she said.
The doctors tell the Kraynaks that they will play everything by ear and hope for the best.
Brett’s treatment of transfusions, injections and pills is part of one of two studies being done in the United States.