KIOWA COUNTY — The communities of Mullinville and Greensburg in Kiowa County came together Labor Day to support one of their own. Twelve-year-old Brogan Tweedy, of Greensburg, was diagnosed with a rare form of leukemia on July 31 after a routine visit to the eye doctor resulted in a visit to a specialist in Wichita the next day.
That doctor ordered an MRI and the doctor who read the results informed the family that Brogan had M0 acute myeloid leukemia.
Brogan, who will turn 13 on Oct. 16, has been in Wichita since that day, getting treatment for the rare form of leukemia that, according to his doctors, hasn’t been recorded in 20 years. It is so rare it is being documented in two medical journals in hopes of helping others.
Mullinville community member Hannah Headrick said the subject of having a fundraiser for the family came up at a city rec meeting and then again at a church group. It was then they decided something had to be done to help Brogan and his family.
“So many of the community just came together to make it happen and the United Methodist Church in Mullinville open its doors to have a taco bar fundraising dinner there,” Headricks said. “This was truly a community event.”
A group of volunteers served more than 200 people at the freewill donation taco bar from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. on Sept. 2. The donations that came in surpassed any expectations the group had as participants came from all over the county.
“Everyone, has just been fantastic and so kind back home,” said Joy Cobb, Brogan’s mother, who works at the U.S. Post Office in Mullinville. “We are so appreciative of the cards, visits and support. We feel overwhelmed with love.”
Cobb said the family had hoped chemotherapy would be the treatment Tweedy needed to get back to school and hang out with his friends again, but they recently found out that the chemo did not work. Brogan is going to require a bone marrow transplant. There are some questions about insurance coverage allowing them to go to Charlotte, N.C., for a transplant when a donor becomes available, as that is where Cobb’s extended family lives.
“We will be gone for six months or more, and it will be just me and Brogan for the most part,” she said.
Cobb’s husband, Carson Cobb, works as a driver for Heft and Sons Construction out of Greensburg. Right now, he is able to drive to Wichita on the weekends, but there is not a hospital in Wichita that does the bone marrow transplant Tweedy needs. If the insurance won’t allow him to go to North Carolina, Joy said they will most likely end up in the Kansas City area.
“It could get pretty lonely,” she said. “We are hoping to be closer to family somehow.”
Cobb said Brogan’s doctors are looking for a bone marrow donor. She is not a match, and the best match would be a biological father or brother, she said. But, Brogan’s dad is no longer living and he has no biological brother.
“We are really at the mercy of donors,” Cobb said. “This is so stressful because I can’t do anything about it.”
Cobb also said the doctors and family are encouraging everyone to go to www.bethematch.org and order a swab kit to be tested.
“If they can’t help Brogan, at least they will help someone,” Cobb said.
A fund has been set up in Brogan’s name at the Mullinville State Bank.