Leo’s Story

Meet The Prigge Family.

Emily Prigge loves living in her small town of Cottonwood, Idaho because her four children have lots of room to run and play and are part of a close knit community. But when Leo, her youngest, started having medical issues, the remoteness and lack of specialized care became a severe obstacle for his health.

“Our doctor is also our neighbor,” Emily said. “We just have a primary care doctor for everything. They deliver babies, perform surgery and do checkups…it’s a very small-town feel.”

After months of driving back and forth between Cottonwood and Boise, Idaho, doctors determined Leo has a mutated gene and a combined immunodeficiency. His condition is so rare that there is only one other known case in the US right now. Leo’s immunology doctors recommended a bone marrow transplant (BMT) at Seattle Children’s Hospital.

With the sole focus on Leo’s treatment and recovery, the Prigge family loaded up and moved to Seattle in January. Leo’s family couldn’t wait for a better housing arrangement, and they initially stayed in an AirBNB for a month, which cost them $10,000. The realities of medical costs, in addition to skyrocketing housing prices and inflation, quickly made this unsustainable.

It was a huge relief when Leo’s seven-year-old sister, Gianna, was a 10 out of 10 match to be his bone marrow donor. After Leo’s transplant, the family was able to move into the Bone Marrow Transplant Apartments at the House. As part of his recovery, Leo must be completely isolated from the outside world and much of the House. Their RMHC apartment has allowed his family to easily do this while benefiting from additional support services RMHC provides.

“The toy room is the kids’ favorite part, ” Emily said, “and just being the mom and having to feed everyone, it’s nice to know that if we have a long day at the hospital, there’s always a meal for us if I don’t have time. Also, having space for the kids to unwind.”

Leo’s bone marrow transplant was a success. After five months of living at the House, the family will be leaving for Idaho. Emily is grateful for the support the House provided when the family most needed it.

The day before checking out, Leo crawls around the outside playhouse, grabbing a stone and dropping it into a toy cart. Emily smiles as she watches him. “He is a spitfire like our second daughter. He’s usually bound and determined, which is a good attitude and character to have being sick,” she said. Emily will have to drive to Seattle monthly for Leo’s checkups, but she’s hopeful they will never have to be residents at the House. They do hope to return again one day as volunteers.