LAGRANGE — “Welcome Home Hurst Family” read the large yellow sign in the front yard of the family’s property Tuesday night.
The sign couldn’t be more fitting.
As Brian and Casey Hurst took turns keeping an eye on the two youngest members of their family — Bryce and Baen — older brothers Beau and Brady spent time playing in their neighborhood.
Bryce, the “talker” of the twins, was constantly on the lookout for his older brother, Beau. Baen, on the other hand, was taking in his new surroundings.
Tuesday marked the first day the Hurst family of six has been home since leaving LaGrange in February.
In March, the youngest members of the Hurst family, identical twins Bryce and Baen, received life-saving bone marrow transplants to curb the gradual onset of Hurler syndrome.
The twins were diagnosed in November with the disease, a result of their bodies not being able to make an enzyme that breaks down sugar molecules. After speaking with several specialists in the Cleveland area prior to December, Brian and Casey made the decision to move the family to Minneapolis to seek a medical miracle.
On Tuesday morning, as their SUV pulled into the driveway and the Hursts returned, nearly 30 family members greeted them.
“Everyone was here, from both sides of the family. Everyone took off from work to be here,” Casey said.
And unknown to the Hurst family as they tied up loose ends in Minneapolis, local family members were taking part in a mini-makeover of the LaGrange home.
“We were relieved,” Casey said of the home transformation. “We wanted the house to be safe for these guys. It’s perfect for us.”
The roof was replaced; new flooring was installed; the kitchen cabinetry was sanded and painted; and walls were painted.
And since the twins are now walking, gates are up at steps and doorways.
But as Brian and Casey sat in their newly remodeled house, they took a moment to think about what they have been through the past year.
In August 2011, they were still trying to figure out what was wrong with their young sons.
Now the 17-month-old “Ginger Twins” are crawling, walking and chatting — three milestones that Brian and Casey weren’t sure were going to happen after the bone-marrow transplants.
“They are right on target for their age,” Casey said. “The doctors called them ‘super babies’ after their bone marrow transplants.”
That’s not to say there weren’t problems.
There were setbacks soon after the transplants. The recovery period for the twins was difficult as they had to be sedated for their bodies to recuperate. One time, Bryce went into respiratory distress.
But looking at the boys toddle around Tuesday, one would never know they underwent lifesaving transplants.
Today marks day 147 since Baen’s transplant, and for Bryce, it’s day 100.
The first year post-transplant is critical. There will be medical appointments and therapy sessions. The twins will return to the Amplatz Children’s Hospital in Minneapolis in November and April for checkups.
Every Friday, they will travel to the Cleveland Clinic Children’s Hospital to make sure they are on target with their recovery.
Brian and Casey know their lives will never be “normal,” but for now, they know Bryce and Baen have overcome a huge hurdle.
“We are so overwhelmed with the generosity from everyone. How do you thank someone who saved your kids’ lives?” Brian said. “There are so many people (to thank); we don’t know what to say. Saying thank you’doesn’t seem like enough.”
Yet, the smiles on Bryce and Baen faces spoke a thousand words Tuesday night.
“Ahh … dada dada dada,” Baen screamed as he stood near Brian, grinning from ear to ear.
Contact Melissa Linebrink at 329-7155 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
Follow Bryce and Baen Hurst’s journey of hope by visiting www.hurstbrothersbattle.com. Or, “Like” them on their Facebook page at “Bryce and Baen Hurst fighting Hurler’s Syndrome.” Both pages allow guests to receive updates on Bryce and Baen’s health.