LINCOLN (SNR) – Cathedral of the Risen Christ School in Lincoln honored student Logan Hatchell Dec. 11 with its “SOAR” award.
The SOAR award honor is given to students who display “Saintly character, Organization, A+ attitude and Responsibility.”
Principal Jeremy Ekeler presented the award after Mass, in the presence of the entire student body. Logan’s parents Josh and Tina were also there, as well as two grandmothers.
Logan is a second-grader who has lived with cerebral palsy (CP) since birth. Ekeler explained that the tightness in Logan’s leg muscles make walking harder and more strenuous than it is for his peers. It can also lessen his balance, increasing falls.
Logan recently underwent a radical surgery in St. Louis to help him overcome the effects of CP, and Ekeler said he tackled both the surgery and the physical therapy with incredible resilience, drive and joy.
“None of us here today will likely ever go through the pain and work Logan has endured the first eight years of his life,” Ekeler said, presenting the award. “Logan, our entire school nominated you because we’ve been inspired by your joy, faith, and humility as you battled cerebral palsy and this intense surgery. We took joy in your joy, inspiration from your faith, and heart in your incredible effort.
“Today we celebrate you,” he continued, “but please know that from this day forward we also walk with you on your journey to recovery. I can’t wait to see you out on the soccer pitch, scoring goals!”
Logan’s siblings also took the microphone to pay tribute to their brother. Fourth-grader Gabriel spoke of Logan’s smile and great attitude as well as their camaraderie, and sixth-grader Krista talked about how Logan’s energy, smile and love shone through, even in the hardest moments.
Logan’s surgery – selective dorsal rhizotomy (SDR) – took place Nov. 22, the day before Thanksgiving. He was in the St. Louis hospital Nov. 19-28.
Logan’s mom Tina Hatchell said the procedure was first recommended earlier this year by Logan’s physical therapist, Haeley Petersen at Handprints and Footsteps in Lincoln. Hatchell said as she did a Google search on the surgery, she learned about Dr. T.S. Park, neurosurgeon-in-chief at St. Louis Children’s Hospital, who pioneered a less invasive technique, with great results. Park has performed the operation on more than 3,000 children and young adults from more than 30 countries.
When the family contacted Dr. Park, Logan was found to be an excellent candidate for the procedure, so his surgery was scheduled just three months later.
The surgery, which is a long and complex neurosurgical procedure, involves sectioning, or cutting, some of the sensory nerve fibers that come from the muscles and enter the spinal cord.
“They told me the surgery eliminates spasticity in his legs, and to expect that he will have increased balance, better posture, increased endurance, and less pain from tight muscles,” Hatchell explained.
After returning home, Logan started four-day-per-week physical therapy immediately, and got updated orthotics. He also wears leg immobilizers and foot orthotics to stretch his feet overnight. He will return to St. Louis after Easter for follow-up care, and potentially a minor surgery to lengthen the tendons in his legs.
Hatchell said Logan returned to school earlier than expected, attending partial days beginning Dec. 11.
“He was making quick and significant improvements every day,” she exclaimed, “the power of a strong body of prayer!”
Logan even returned to school for full days later in the week. He cannot return to physical education or sports until after the new year, but is enjoying being back at school.
“I speak for the entire Hatchell family when I say that we have been honored to have our Cathedral parish send us their prayers and support,” she said. “Logan received a prayer bouquet from his classmates that he adored, and they are so sweet!
“Cathedral has always been supportive of any accommodations that Logan requires for school and this has only continued since we returned,” she continued. “Logan is a smart, cheerful, and friendly little guy. He wants to be friends with everyone and always tries to be the peacemaker. He is great at advocating for others and himself, when required. The SOAR award is well deserved. We expect great things for him in the future!”