As a tattooist, I am very fortunate to work with the clients that I do. Tattooing a majority of my clients for many sessions, larger scale pieces, I end up being around them for quite a long time, some for years. I have been fortunate enough to tattoo Mike and Katie Warechowski for over 4 years now. They are everything you could want from a client, amazing people that love the tattoos that they get. When Katie was pregnant, everyone at the shop was excited for the two of them and looking forward to the baby they we going to have. Once Michael was born, they brought him down when I was tattooing Mike. He was a beautiful baby. After a little bit of time, they began to notice some things were different with his development, and eventually he was diagnosed with MLD. I will let them explain better, this is from their website www.mikeywiv.wordpress.com
“Most people get a lifetime with their children. Not us. Not any of the parents of late infantile onset MLD children. Metachromatic Leukodystrophy is quite severe, progressive and fatal. Most children live to age 5, some to age 10. Michael will end up needing constant care as he begins to deteriorate, losing his ability to sit up, crawl, eat, see, hear and eventually, breathe. The only treatment for this disorder is a bone marrow, stem cell or cord blood transplant. Unfortunately, transplant is not generally recommended for late infantile onset of MLD so the we have decided not to put Michael through transplant but rather, to keep him at home where he is happy and we can share him with everyone who loves him.
Michael is one of the sweetest little boys you will ever meet – everyone who meets him agrees. Those who are closest to him will tell you that he is more snuggly than any child you’ve ever met. He loves his little “babies” as we call them – his little stuffed animals that he hugs while he sleeps and insists on carrying around with him everywhere he goes. Michael was a perfectly healthy, normal baby for most of his life. He reached most of his milestones right on target – rolled over at 4 months, sat up at 6 months, crawled at 8 months and began talking at 10 months. In fact, his speech seemed to be above average as he was saying sentences as early as 16 months. He learned his colors and shapes around 18 months and he now counts all the way to 20 (“Count to 20, holy cow” as Michael would say). When Michael finally decided to stand up and try to walk, Katie and Mike noticed that his feet looked a little funny so they began with a series of doctor’s appointments including the Chiropractor, Pediatrician, Orthopedist and finally, Neurologist. The neurologist ordered an MRI and when they found something questionable in his brain, they ordered some blood work. Our worst nightmare came true when they received the results from the blood tests.
On Tuesday March 27th, (Katie’s birthday), we found out Michael’s diagnosis – M….L….D” This is an amazing family that I am lucky enough to get to be around. I am reminded daily how fortunate I am to be able to do what I do, and be around the clients that I am. The last time they came down from Atlanta, I tattooed a purple butterfly on each of them, which can be found in my tattoo gallery on this site. The purple butterfly is a symbol for MLD. To learn more, and see how you can help, check out their website at www.mikeywiv.wordpress.com