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Rallying in support of Aspen

By Staff | Mar 12, 2010

Levi and Randi Heisler have been told by doctors that their son is truly one of a kind.

One-year-old Aspen Heisler was recently diagnosed with stage three neuroblastoma, a fairly common form of cancer found in children, and a very rare genetic disorder called, mucopolysaccharidosis. The combination of these make him one in a million, well, one in 350 million to be more specific.

Since the time of Aspen’s diagnosis in mid-February, he has been receiving care at the University of Minnesota Medical Center in Fairview. While there Aspen has undergone a series of tests to determine the type of cancer and course of treatment. He has completed one round of chemotherapy so far and another is planned in the near future. He has a tumor in his chest that extends to his spinal column. Fortunately, the cancer has not spread to the bone.

There are several different levels of the mucopolysaccharidoses or MPS disorder and doctors are still awaiting test results to determine Aspen’s case. MPS is a disorder caused by the absence or malfunctioning of enzymes needed to break down sugar carbohydrates in each of our cells that help build bone, cartilage, tendons, connective tissue and such. Over time, these molecules of carbohydrates collect in the cells, blood and connective tissues causing damage in various parts of the body including organ and system functions.

The Heislers have lived in Rugby for about six years. Levi owns and manages North Central Ag in Rugby and Randi is currently a student at Mayville State University seeking a degree in education. The couple is originally from Devils Lake. They also have a four-year-old son, Macen.

Aspen’s family maintains a Caring Bridge website. Go to www.caringbridge.org/visit/aspenjackheisler for updates on his condition and progress of treatment.

The community is once again showing their compassion for a fellow resident by rallying around this young family. There have been and continue to be benefits planned for the Heisler family to help with medical and travel expenses.

Daunne Heilman and Helen Ferguson and staff at i design have donated “Prayers for Aspen” stickers (window decals). They can be purchased both in Rugby and Devils Lake for $5 each with all proceeds going to the Heisler family. More than 1,500 have been printed and purchased so far. Contact i design at 776-2665 for more information.

Several friends of the family and many volunteers from the community recently organized a snowmobile fun run to Balta. In Balta, there was also a supper with a free will offering taken. There were 119 registered snowmobile riders and many more who attended the supper. Matching funds were provided by Thrivent Financial.

Randi was amazed by the generosity and said, “I can’t believe all the people who were there to help and support our family. We are so thankful and I will always remind Aspen of the generosity and kindness people have shown and to pass it on to others throughout his life.”

At Hair Emporium, donations are being received in of used formalwear for the upcoming adult and high school proms. The dresses and accessories will then be sold with proceeds given to the Heisler family. Donations are welcome until April 7.

The Rugby Volunteer Fire Department, of which Levi is a member, will be serving a benefit breakfast this Sunday, March 14 from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. at the Rugby Eagles. Free will offering will be taken with matching funds available.

Donations can also be made to an account set up at Bremer Bank in Aspen’s name.

Some information provided

by the Heislers’ friends and

family members.

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