Runner's child racing against clock to survive

January 03, 1997


Staff Writer

Jared Stoner isn't old enough to have seen one of his father's races against the clock.

But the 2-month-old son of Earl and Melissa Stoner is in his own race against time.

Jared Stoner's opponents are two rare liver diseases - veno occlusive disease and neonatal hemochromatosis - caused by the therapy he needed to fight a cancerous tumor of the adrenal gland. After a week of positive signs, his course of recovery took a bad turn on Wednesday.

"We were in a transition period," Melissa Stoner said Thursday by telephone from the University of Maryland Medical Center in Baltimore. "It was down to his body healing itself. But now he is much worse. He started hemorrhaging in his lungs. That's a bad sign."


Now Jared needs a liver transplant and will be taken to St. Christopher's Hospital in Philadelphia. Insurance will pay only 80 percent of the cost.

Melissa Stoner said she was waiting to be blood-typed to see if she could donate a portion of her liver to her son. Otherwise, the child will have to be placed on a waiting list until a donor liver is obtained.

On Nov. 12, the Stoners took Jared for his first checkup since his Oct. 29 birth. After two checkups, he was diagnosed with neuroblastoma, cancer caused by a tumor in the adrenal gland.

"When they caught it, it was a stage four tumor," Melissa Stoner said. "He had the chemotherapy and radiation treatments to help eliminate the tumor, but it caused the liver disease."

Veno occlusive disease (VOD) is incurable and shuts down the veins in the liver. It was a rare occurrence caused by the cancer therapy. Neonatal hemochromatosis is an overabundance of iron in the blood which goes into the tissues and organs. Eventually, Jared will have his adrenal glands and spleen removed.

"The prognosis from the cancer is good, but the other stuff has been unexpected," Melissa Stoner said.

Earl Stoner, 28, was a star track and cross country runner for North Hagerstown High who won the national junior college championship in the 1,500-meter run in 1988 while attending Hagerstown Junior College. He reached the pinnacle of his running career last summer by qualifying for the U.S. Olympic Marathon Trials.

The Cumberland Valley Athletic Club has created the Jared Stoner Fund to help the Stoners defer the costs of treatments. Checks payable to the fund can be sent to the CVAC at 1012 Valleybrook Drive, Hagerstown, Md. 21742.

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