<<Home Niagara Falls Reporter Archive>>

Benefit to Help Deputy's Son Stricken With Rare Form of Leukemia

Caiden, Carol and Logan on the Maid of the Mist.

Sedgwick County (Kansas) Deputy William Felix, Joe Reele, Niagara County Deputy Marc Reele and Jan Reele at the Michael S. Reele award ceremony.

The Michael S. Reele Award is given in recognition to the Sedgwick County Sheriff's Office employee who has consistently and most notable displayed the CORE Values of Integrity, Duty, Ethics, Attitude, Leadership and Service while fulfilling the mission of the Sheriff's Office during the preceding year. Deputy Mike Reele lost his battle with leukemia on May 14, 2002. His ever positive attitude and dedication to service to the community prompted this annual honor. Members of Mike's family travel from New York state to present the award to the 2012 recipient.

St Paul to the Thessalonians: "For even when we were with you, this we commanded you, that if any would not work, neither should he eat."

A benefit will be held for 5-year-old Logan Reele, on Sunday, May 19, starting at noon, at the Lewiston Number 2 Fire Hall on Saunders Settlement Rd.

Tickets are $20.

Back in 2010, two-year-old Logan, the son of Niagara County Sheriff's Deputy Marc Reele and his wife Carol, had unexplained and excessive bruises, weakness, fatigue, and pain.

His parents took him to the hospital and he was diagnosed with acute lymphoblastic leukemia (ALL), a form of leukemia where malignant, immature white blood cells are overproduced in the bone marrow, crowding out normal cells and can spread to the lung, liver, spleen, lymph nodes, brain, kidneys, spine and reproductive organs.

ALL accounts for approximately 70 percent of all childhood leukemia cases, making it the most common type of childhood cancer, with the most common incidences at 2–5 years of age.

It was fortunate that his parents acted quickly.  ALL is fatal in as little as a few weeks if left untreated.

At Children‘s Hospital of Buffalo, they entered into remission induction with chemotherapy combining multiple anti-leukemic drugs to kill most of the tumor cells.

Within two weeks Logan went into remission, defined as the presence of less than 5 percent leukemic blasts in the bone marrow, normal blood cells and absence of tumor cells from blood, and absence of other signs and symptoms of the disease.

But the treatment was far from over. After remission induction, came intensification where more tumor cells were killed, followed by maintenance therapy, which Logan is presently undergoing almost three years later.

The aim of maintenance therapy is to kill any residual cell that was not killed by remission induction, and intensification regimens. Although such cells are few, they will cause relapse if not eradicated. For this purpose, daily oral mercaptopurine, once weekly oral methotrexate, once monthly 5-day course of intravenous vincristine and oral corticosteroids are usually used.

This therapy lowers the immune system. Logan is susceptible to other kinds of diseases. Even if he gets a temperature he often has to go to the hospital.

The length of maintenance therapy is 3 years for boys, 2 years for girls and adults.  The chemotherapy regimens are longer for boys, as testicles are a potential reservoir.

Logan will be done with his chemotherapy treatments in July. And there is better than 90 percent chance of the disease being eradicated.

After maintenance therapy is concluded, Logan will need physical and occupational therapy to help him with dexterity, hand and eye coordination, the way he walks and handwriting.  Without it, it could affect the way his body grows and develops.

Throughout the long ordeal, the Reele family suffered not only emotionally, but financially. Deputy Reele not only had to decline overtime at work but lost a lot of regular time due to the constant trips with his son to the hospital.

His wife, Carol, had to cancel any plans to work. Logan needed a full-time mother.

The co-pay of various medicines, at up to $75 per prescription, was eating up huge chunks of Marc's paycheck. Gasoline for trips to Buffalo was running $600 per month.

"It is a huge financial issue, but I never kept track of the money. I was only happy he was in remission," Marc said.

At work, county dispatchers Wendy Walker and Melissa Steen asked Reele if they could organize a benefit for Logan.  Reele said no, preferring to shoulder his family burdens quietly.

But Walker and Steen persisted. Finally, when they managed to get Undersheriff Michael J. Filicetti and Sheriff James R. Voutour involved, along with the Police Benevolent Union Officials, Reele finally consented and agreed to allow his coworkers to organize a benefit.

"The Niagara County Sheriff's [department] is the best place I've ever worked,” Reele said. "I couldn't imagine going anywhere else. The place is like a big family. Anytime anything happens, emails go out and everybody offers to help out. I am so thankful for just working there."

Logan, who was seen last week on the Sal Paonessa show on the NBN internet network, is a bright, happy child. He is now in  kindergarten at the Lew Port Central School District and shows little outward signs of the disease that he has been battling.

Apropos of this, and adding more than a touch of sorrow, to mix with the hope for Logan, is the sad reminiscence that Marc's brother, Michael, once a sheriff's deputy in Sedgwick County, Kansas, died in 2002, at the age of 26, of the same disease, touching not only Marc but his parents Joe and Jan Reele.

In Sedgwick County, they remember Michael Reele for his commitment to the community, and for bravery.

Every year the Sedgewick County Sheriff presents an award to an employee who exemplifies the department’s core values of integrity, duty, ethics, attitude, leadership and service. The award is called the Michael Reele Award.

Donations for Logan's benefit will be appreciated, its organizers say, and they are still accepting baskets of any theme. Should anyone care to help, checks can be made to The Logan Reele Benefit Fund and sent to 7692 Akron Road or call (716) 713-7634;  471-6452 or  438-3394. The $20 ticket admission includes a Krolick's BBQ chicken dinner, pizza, desserts, beer and pop. There will be several hundred baskets and big ticket items there and one suspects the family of the Niagara County Sheriff's Office, who have learned there are many ways to serve and protect, will be there in numbers supporting their brother deputy.

Who knows, the fact that they pestered Reele into helping him is the kind of encouragement that men in travail sometimes need more than money.

All are welcome to attend.



Niagara Falls Reporter - Publisher Frank Parlato Jr. www.niagarafallsreporter.com

May 07, 2013