GOSHEN — About the time Logan Leatherman turned one year old last October, his parents, Justin and Holly Leatherman of Goshen, began to notice that he was persistently coughing and wheezing.
“After many doctor's visits and treatments and antibiotics, nothing seemed to work,” Holly Leatherman said.
On Jan. 12, Logan was diagnosed with dilated cardiomyopathy, which means his heart was weakened and enlarged and could not pump blood properly.
“His heart worked so hard to breathe for him,” Holly said.
“He couldn't run or walk for any distance,” she explained.
Doctors tried different medicines, but Logan's health continued to decline.
On March 1, Logan's heart function dropped to 20 percent after undergoing anesthesia to put in a feeding tube and have a muscle biopsy, Holly said. On May 4, Logan's named entered the list for a heart transplant.
At 2 p.m., May 10, doctors informed the Leathermans that the perfect heart was available for Logan. The surgery began 12 hours later.
Logan is the youngest of four Goshen residents to have received a new heart in the last year.
Stephen A. Landis, 60, received his new heart May 16, after years of heart failure.
He received mechanical heart valves in 1987 and a pacemaker in 2003.
His condition continually worsened, though, and his endurance decreased, he said. In January, he began meeting with doctors at the Cleveland Clinic in Ohio. In early May, Landis noticed that he was very short of breath and, in consultation with the Cleveland Clinic, admitted himself to Indiana University Goshen Health Hospital emergency room, where he was transported to a Fort Wayne hospital and then to Cleveland Clinic.
Landis stayed in the Cleveland hospital for two weeks following his May 16 heart transplant.
Now out of the hospital, he's remained in the Cleveland area because of biopsies every week since the surgery. He's likely to return to Goshen later this week, as his biopsies move to every other week.
“I'd like to get in a little fishing,” he said. “That's one thing I'm hoping to get back to.”
Another Goshen man, Barrett Younghans, received a new heart in February. Ken Horst, also of Goshen, received his new heart last July.
Like Landis, the Leathermans are hoping to return to Goshen later this week, though they'll still need to return to Riley for multiple biopsies and other visits.
Though Logan can't be out in public yet and is mostly confined to their room at the Ronald McDonald House in Indianapolis, Holly said he's doing well.
“He's very active,” she said. “He has too much energy. We haven't seem him this active, obviously, in months.”
Holly said they don't think Logan was born with his condition but that “we do not know and probably never will know what caused it.
While the families may be out of Goshen, local family and friends have helped organize events to help out the individual Landis and Leatherman families.
For Stephen Landis
A walk-a-thon will be Aug. 11 to raise funds for Landis. Details on the walk-a-thon and other fundraisers will be available on Landis' Caringbridge site at www.caringbridge.org/visit/stevelandis. People can also donate by contacting Jeff Birky at firstname.lastname@example.org, Sallie Davis at email@example.com or by making checks out to the Stephen A. Landis Benefit Fund at INterra Credit Union.
For Logan Leatherman
One upcoming fundraiser for Logan is being planned by Jim Morrical, a Goshen man who has never met the Leatherman family. As the uncle of Barrett Younghans, another Goshen heart transplant recipient, Morrical knows some of what the family is going through, he said.
He decided to raise money through a race he's running in July. It's a way to say thanks to the community for its support of Younghans and a way to raise money for another family facing a similar situation, he said.
Morrical will run in the Party at the Park 24-hour Run in Valparaiso, where participants run a 5-kilometer loop as many times as each runner can in 24 hours. Morrical is raising donations, either a lump sum or per mile he runs, at logansrun24.com.
A pancake breakfast to support Logan is set for Saturday, June 30 from 7 to 11 a.m. at The Life Center, 1212 W. Plymouth Ave., Goshen. Tickets are $6 and available at the door. On July 16 will be a fundraiser at Il Forno in downtown Goshen. On Aug. 11, a motorcycle ride will the Goshen DAV at noon with a benefit at the DAV at 4 p.m., including a silent auction, 50/50 drawing and refreshments.
People can also donate by making checks payable to Leatherman Family Benefit at INterra Credit Union.
“We get so emotional about all the community support and all the people who want to help,” Holly said.