Community rushes to help seriously ill Logan


Logan Owens is second from the left in this provided photo.

Published: Friday, October 25, 2013 at 6:12 p.m.
Last Modified: Friday, October 25, 2013 at 7:18 p.m.

When Logan Owens was admitted to the hospital last week with a serious illness, the Gainesville community was there for him, his mother said.

Although he’s not out of the woods, Logan was doing better on Friday. Now, his family is urging the community to keep donating blood to help other children who need it.

Back when he was 2, Logan, now a 10-year-old fifth-grader at Hidden Oak Elementary, had a bout with a blood disorder called hemolytic anemia, his mother, Coi Owens, said.

He was admitted to the hospital with dangerously low levels of hemoglobin, a component of red blood cells that carries oxygen from the lungs to the rest of the body.

At 3, he had another slight episode. Then, about two weeks ago, Owens noticed her son turning pale — a sign of anemia.

By the time he was admitted to UF Health Shands Hospital on Oct. 15, Logan had fainted and his heartbeat was too fast. Later that evening, his hemoglobin level was at 4.6, his mother said.

A healthy adult would need a transfusion with a hemoglobin level of 7.

“It was pretty bad,” she said.

Logan has had seven blood transfusions since he was admitted to the hospital last week.

Some of the treatments he’s needed are extremely painful, and on his worst days, Owens said, Logan just wanted to go home.

But the support of the community has buoyed his spirits.

Logan’s classmates at Hidden Oak Elementary sent him get-well cards and made videos for him, and teachers have visited. Churches of several denominations are sending out prayer chains for him.

A few days after he entered the hospital, a blood drive was set up in his name at LifeSouth Community Blood Centers.

Dozens of people have already donated blood in his name, and residents can continue to give blood “In Honor of Logan Owens” — donations made under his name will help offset any cost of blood processing not covered by the Owens family’s insurance.

That really touched Logan’s heart, his mother said. “That made those hard times a lot easier for him.”

LifeSouth, which was running low on blood donations at the time, was also grateful, donor recruitment director Galen Unold said.

“We need blood donors, and the blood that’s donated in honor of Logan isn’t necessarily going to go to Logan, but it’s going to go to the hundreds of other patients in our area” who need blood, Unold said. “I’m really proud of the family for allowing us to use that message to increase our number of donors.”

Coi Owens said the outpouring of support from the community has overwhelmed her.

Still, she realizes her family is fortunate. Her husband, Matthew, and three other children are also there for Logan.

Other children in the pediatric ward at UF Health have little support, and need more help, said Owens, who is a teacher at Buchholz High School.

For that reason, Owens is asking the community at large to keep donating blood, or whatever resources are available.

To donate, visit one of Gainesville’s LifeSouth locations, at 1221 NW 13th St. or 4039 W. Newberry Road.

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