Click to View Latest IssueClick to View Latest Issue

Jennifer Hendricks-Fogg: A Mother’s Fight against Childhood Cancer

By  0 Comments

On the day little Logan Fogg was born, angels in Heaven got together and decided which parents he would need, then gently placed him in their waiting arms. Throughout his time on earth, their wings have covered and caressed him and his parents, Jennifer and Kevin Fogg.

“I had wanted a baby for so very long, I knew God didn’t give me a baby to just take him away,” Jennifer noted. Logan has spent 17 months on this earth as of April 18, and his mommy and daddy have advocated for his health every step of the way. Diagnosed at three months with congenital glioblastoma, a cancerous brain tumor, he has spent over six months of his life in the hospital.

Their story is one Jennifer tells with courage and a strength that comes from her newfound faith in God. She and Kevin were practically newlyweds when Logan was born. The couple met seven years ago, and their three-year wedding anniversary will be June 20. Jennifer was born and raised in Colonie, New York, and Kevin is from Scotia, New York, where the family lives now.

“After we married, we started trying to have a baby. About six months in, because of my age, 39, my doctor referred me to a fertility specialist and everything was fine. He did a quick round of hormones.” she explained. “If you’re under 35 they let you try for a year; if you’re over 35 they let you try six months and then you go to a fertility specialist. I had Logan when I was 40.” During the pregnancy, they were monitoring one of his kidneys because it was inflamed, so she had more ultrasounds than normal, and the last one was the kicker.

Their journey started with that last ultrasound. The tech did the ultrasound and walked out, then a new doctor walked in. He had started a week earlier. He told them that Logan had fluid on his brain, then sent them for an emergency MRI. Jen’s friend in scheduling helped them get in a week later, on Thursday, November 17, 2016. That was when they learned the fluid was blood; he had a brain bleed. Jennifer and Kevin were advised to check in to labor and delivery. Jennifer told her husband, “They are taking my kid today.”

The first doctor they saw was a radiologist who thought Logan had neonatal alloimmune thrombocytopenia, or NAIT, a neonatal disease in which the platelet count is reduced; he wouldn’t make it. “I looked the doctor dead in the face and said, ‘You’re out of your mind. God didn’t give me this baby to take him away,’” Jennifer recalled.

They gave her steroids to help his lungs develop. Another doctor came in and told them they didn’t know for sure what it was; it could be a million other things. The couple was advised to get their son out and see what they could do. It was up to Jennifer, today or tomorrow. At that point, all she wanted was to hear him cry. An emergency C-section was performed.

Next Steps
Logan came out kicking and screaming! Kevin held him first since they had to repair her incision. “They took him to a private room and tested him for anything and everything. We were told it could have just been a birth abnormality, no problem,” Jennifer remembered. “At the end of December 2016, Logan had a follow-up MRI that showed the brain hemorrhage was diminishing.”

Because he was born with the hemorrhage, the doctors recommended physical therapy to reduce deficiencies on his left side. “That was February 2017. We had a follow-up MRI on March 8. I’ll never forget the look on the doctor’s face when he walked in the room,” she shared. “He waited for the nurse to shut the door before he said, ‘I have good news and bad news. The hemorrhage is gone, but there’s a tumor.’ A week earlier, I had thought his head was getting bigger on one side but I tried not to be an overprotective mom. Hindsight is 20/20 and you want to kick yourself.”

The tumor was one-third the size of Logan’s head, and they had noticed no signs. Had they waited two to three weeks, he would have started having seizures and not survived. A congenital glioblastoma is very rare in children with fewer than 100 documented cases of this type of tumor. “That was the second time someone had told me my son would not survive! They admitted him to the neonatal intensive care unit at the Melodies Center for Childhood Cancer and Blood Disorders at Albany Medical Center and put two shunts in his head to drain the fluid and relieve any pressure,” she noted.

Expert Care
Logan is the first infant Lauren Weintraub, M.D., a pediatric hematologist/oncologist and Assistant Professor of Pediatrics at Albany Medical College., has treated with a congenital glioblastoma. Within ten days of diagnosis, Dr. Weintraub started Logan on chemotherapy. Dr. Adamo specializes in pediatric neurosurgery at Albany Medical Center. His expertise includes surgical treatment for epilepsy, brain and spinal cord tumors, Chiari malformations, spasticity, traumatic brain and spinal cord injuries and congenital and developmental abnormalities such as spina bifida and craniosynostosis. Additionally, Dr. Adamo serves a niche population of pediatric patients with cerebrovascular diseases, such as arteriovenous malformations and moya moya disease.

Logan underwent five rounds of very aggressive chemotherapy and 11 surgeries while he was inpatient from March to September.  The first two rounds of chemo shrunk the tumor in half.  Dr. Adamo performed two major craniotomies that took between four and six hours each to complete. Dr. Adamo removed half the tumor in the first surgery, then 45 percent the next; he left 5 percent in the middle of the brain because it was in his memory center. “We recently had an MRI and there were no signs of the tumor, but we aren’t out of the woods. Logan had five rounds of aggressive inpatient chemo, and just had the fourth of eight rounds of outpatient chemo. Those are about 40 to 50 days each, so he will get chemo for another four to six months,” she mused. “He is such a fighter!”

Jennifer tried to nurse Logan, but he would not latch on, so she pumped. Her goal was to pump enough breast milk to get him through his first five rounds of inpatient chemo, and she did it. “He has four huge teeth now,” she smiled. “I want everyone to know that along this way, there have been so many coincidences, which I really don’t believe in, there have been so many. I am district sales coordinator for Aflac and have sold cancer policies for six years now. Aflac owns the Aflac Cancer and Blood Disorders Center of Children’s Healthcare of Atlanta, and they developed the chemo plan my son is on,” she assured. “They saved my son’s life.”

Another blessing has been through Jennifer’s involvement as District Membership Chair of Rotary District 7190 and Charter President of Capital Region Rotary Club. Her club donates to the Bernard and Millie Duker Children’s Hospital at Albany Medical Center every year, so she knew them. In addition, a friend who works at the hotel across the street got them rooms through some of Logan’s hospital stays. “From March 8, 2017, to September 12, 2017, we were home maybe two and a half weeks, and I didn’t go back to work until January of this year,” she related. “Every doctor Logan’s had has been amazing. We are very lucky to have Albany Med here, and in addition to Dr. Adamo and Dr. Weintraub, we have our Neurologist, Dr. Nichter, and Dr. Lucas, his Developmental Pediatrician.”

Jennifer tries to keep Logan’s days as normal as possible. “Since July 2017 he has had a shunt that runs from the back of his head to his tummy, so the extra fluid from his brain drains out of his body through his urine,” she related. “He is on a feeding tube because he stopped eating after the second brain surgery, when they removed part of his left frontal lobe.” She attributes his not eating to the surgery and/or the fact that the chemo makes food taste bad.

“Developmentally, we pushed pause the day he was diagnosed. Since we have been home he has made leaps and bounds. He wears a helmet to re-shape his head, he sits up like a 12-month-old and stands like an 11-month-old,” she beamed. “I firmly believe that he was born to the right parents, because I have a voice to ask, ‘What are you doing to my son and why?’ I’m not afraid to ask questions or to disagree with the doctors or push the doctors for answers.”

Helping Others
Jennifer established the nonprofit Logan Strong Foundation to help other families who are traveling the same path her family is walking. In April, she and a fellow cancer mom participated in the Alliance for Childhood Cancer Action Days in Washington, D.C., meeting with legislators to advance policies leading to improved research, public education and diagnosis, treatment, supportive care and survivorship for children and adolescents with cancer.

“I believe my son will be fine. My husband and I have a great relationship and we go to counseling, since we literally got married and had a baby with cancer,” she mused. “We make time for each other, and Logan has a wonderful nanny, Sari Medick.” Kevin works as Director of properties and facilities for Bethesda House, an interfaith ministry to the homeless, disabled and economically disadvantaged citizens of Schenectady County. Their goal is to build a just, hospitable and inclusive community one person at a time by affirming the dignity and addressing the needs of each guest.

Jennifer believes that Logan picked her to be his mom for a reason. “It’s because of my big mouth,” she smiled. “Everybody handles it differently. In my blog, I share the good, the bad and the ugly. That’s the reality of life. I try to stay very positive. I’m a firm believer in you get what you give. My husband is like that too. I’ve also been going to church with my father-in-law and converted to Catholicism. I believe in the power of prayer, so I was confirmed recently. I go to church now every Saturday with my husband’s grandmother at St. Joseph’s Church in Scotia. One of the women there told me she would pray for my son, and this experience is the river of life; you have the bends and curves of your life, but you keep on going.”

Logan was baptized in the hospital the week he was diagnosed, and once he is done with chemo, they will have a ceremony in church. What advice does this strong soul give to other women on this river of life? “Stay positive. I think people, especially in our position, have to remember that doctors are people too. Don’t be afraid to ask questions and always look at the positive.”

These are special words to heed from a special family. The hope for Logan is that he enjoys hugging his stuffed octopus, Ocho, and smiling for many years to come.

#LoganStrong 4 Golfers
The Logan Strong Foundation, established to raise childhood cancer awareness and provide items of comfort and support for children and families while they’re fighting cancer in and out of the hospital, has an important upcoming date.

On May 17, 2018, their inaugural event will be the First Annual Logan Cup at Western Turnpike Golf Course in Guilderland, New York. The Foundation Ribbon Cutting precedes dinner, and they’re excited to partner with local businesses for the event. The networking cocktail hour and dinner start at 4:00 p.m., following the end of tournament play, for those who wish to support the Foundation and efforts without golfing.

Visit and register for the inaugural Logan Cup Golf Tournament or find details on sponsorship opportunities and the cocktail hour and networking dinner at