ABC 10News San Diego | Coronavirus Coverage


10:42 AM, Feb 27, 2020


Family in quarantine for almost two years shares lessons learned

Luckesens quarantine
Posted at 4:52 PM, Apr 09, 2020
and last updated 2020-04-09 21:18:11-04

SAN DIEGO (KGTV) - A family of six has been living in quarantine for almost two years to protect their youngest member.

The Luckesens went into quarantine July of 2018 when baby Charlie came home from the hospital without the ability to fight infection.

His condition, called athymia, is deadly if left untreated.

"Basically our options to bring Charlie home were to take the kids out of school and home school them or keep Charlie isolated from them in his room," Mom Katie Luckesen said.

She said she wears a mask whenever she goes out and is armed with hand sanitizer. She does grocery pick-up to limit contact with the outside world and washes up soon as she comes home.

Her husband, JD, also social distances at work as a chaplain for the Navy.

Katie said when the stay home order came out her four kids took it well. The oldest, Jack, 8, told her "well we're already used to this so it's not much of a change for us."

So 10News asked for her advice. First off, Katie said it's important to prioritize what needs to get done compared to what you want to do.

"Sometimes the need to do, is self care, like if I need to take a bath," She said. "Focus on the blessings and what you can do over the negatives."

The Luckesen's biggest blessing came a month ago Friday when Charlie finally made it to the top of the wait list to get a thymus transplant.

Katie said it feels like "we're starting to see the finish line for a marathon."

That finish line at least a year away. The organ needs that time to "teach" cells in the body how to protect itself.

Once they get the okay, it will still be a slow process for the family to go back to 'normal'.

'Maybe take Charlie to the grocery store in the morning when there's not many people or maybe start putting the other kids back in school,' Katie said.

Katie is excited for that day. She misses seeing her friends and bringing family together.

"There's so many amazing things to do out there in San Diego that they're missing out on and that's probably the saddest thing for me is all the things they've had to sacrifice too," she said.

Katie wanted to thank San Diegans who are taking the stay home order seriously to protect people like Charlie. She hopes this pandemic changes social norms, so people stay home when they are sick so they do not infect others.

Twenty babies are born with athymia in the U.S. each year.

Seventy-six percent of toddlers who receive a thymus transplant have a full recovery.

Katie said she's gotten help and advice from a Facebook group full of families who have children with athymia.