October was a month of monumental achievements for Charlie Knuth.
Fresh off trick-or-treating for the first time in more than five years, the 7-year-old Darboy youth, whose immune system is almost fully recovered, returned to school a few days ago.
“The last time he was in school regularly was in pre-K before his first transplant in 2010, and that was only for two months,” said his mother, Trisha Knuth.
Charlie has a rare skin disease called epidermolysis bullosa, which makes his skin fragile due to a lack of protein between the skin layers.
Post-Crescent Media has been following Charlie’s journey since 2010, when Wisconsin Medicaid denied the Knuth family treatment. The health care program eventually reversed the decision and allowed Charlie to undergo a bone marrow transplant, a surgery designed to strengthen his skin.
In October 2012, the Knuth family brought Charlie home from Minneapolis after a 100-day stay at Amplatz Children’s Hospital, where he received a second stem cell transplant to strengthen his skin. He has spent most of the past year isolated while dealing with the stark challenges that go along with a stem cell transplant, Trisha Knuth said.
Charlie couldn’t walk back then. But he can now. In fact, he’s running, jumping and playing again— which makes school all the more enjoyable for the spunky child who loves and needs to play with other children, his mom said.
Charlie recently was running on a golf course and fell, which laid him up for the weekend. Still, that didn’t compare to what would have occurred in the past.