Guest Commentary by
Vicki Bowman, Boyne City
My son Hayes has an immune deficiency. He has hypogammaglobulinemia, is tube fed, and has a Port-A-Cath so that every 28 days he can receive an IV I G infusion. That IV I G infusion or his antibodies that make his immune system strong enough to hopefully withstand the normal virus and bacteria.
His dream was to move to Boyne city and go to school, meet friends that didn’t know his medical situation so that he was no longer bullied, and be able to walk to the lake and fish every day.
So, my husband and I sold our home in Indiana and moved here on March 6th of this year.
Of course, we all know March 6th was only days before our state closed down because of this pandemic.
All of his dreams have been dashed. He went to Concord Academy Boyne for two days before they closed up shop.
So, to meet friends, or to be able to go anywhere by himself, is nearly impossible.
He’s lonely, sad, and missing familiar things.
Here we are in a new community where we know very few people, and he is so very alone.
However, the lake is just across the street from our house, so we thought it would be safe to allow him to walk over there and go fishing. I mean, it should be OK to go fishing when you will be 13 in just three weeks, right? And to go all alone? But no! We soon found out that to allow him to go fishing meant coming into contact with kind people who wanted to talk to him or cheer him on because of the fish he just reeled.
Hayes doesn’t look any different than any other kid when he’s not wearing his feeding pump backpack, so people haven’t got a clue.
Just like with many people that have medical issues and an immune deficiency, you can’t see it by just looking at them!
Young and old alike will come running in his direction, give him a high-five or a pat on the back, and have absolutely no idea that their graciousness is risking his life.
Those six-feet, and that mask, they are imperative!
They are not just important for our own well-being, but for all of those around us.
Up until all the visitors started flooding our area just a few weeks ago, we were feeling pretty safe in this community, and felt that Boyne provided a pretty awesome and safe atmosphere.
We take him to the lake daily, usually fish right near the marina, because we found a shade tree, where there are not usually others around.
We try to keep him engaged with the thing that he loves which is fishing, but how very sad it is to have to do this in our own little world where he can’t make a friend, and it’s not safe to go near others even if we are 10 feet away, because they always run in his direction.
Everyone we saw everywhere just a month ago was wearing a mask.
But now, no matter where you go, people are huddled in groups, visiting friends, giving high-fives and pats on the back, and not realizing that—although they feel safe—what they’re doing is not safe for themselves or others.
I’m trying to bring some hope and faith back into his life and I’m hoping people understand how very important it is for many, not just my son, to keep their distance and wear a mask.
By wearing a mask, keeping your distance, and screaming “good job!” from afar, you could provide that same life-saving that we all want to give.
On another note, Hayes’ family is throwing a card shower for his 13th birthday—calling all friends and family to send him a card, to let him know his life is important, to let him know people everywhere care.
If you would like to participate, please mail your birthday cards and well-wishes to:
526 North Lake St. #132
Boyne City, MI 49712