Local boy returns home after bone marrow transplant in Minnesota

Evanston 6-year-old Dawson Rogers holds a toy while he sits with his sister, 8-year-old Aubrey, at the Masonic Children’s Hospital in Minneapolis, Minnesota. Dawson underwent a successful bone marrow transplant and spent months there recovering before returning to Evanston on April 1. (COURTESY PHOTO)

EVANSTON — Manuel Picos is a happy man. His partner, Rebecca Garcia, and 6-year-old stepson, Dawson Scott Rogers, finally returned home on Friday, April 1, after a six-month stay in Minneapolis, Minnesota, where Dawson underwent a bone marrow transplant at the Masonic Children’s Hospital.

“Dawson was very sick and was in ICU for some time after the transplant,” Picos told the Herald. “He didn’t look good but, finally, he was able to leave the ICU and, eventually, got to come home.”

When Dawson was barely 5 years old, he underwent a bone marrow biopsy, and cancer cells were found. For a year and a half, Dawson was given blood transfusions and platelets twice a week at Primary Children’s Hospital in Salt Lake City, and took medication both in the morning and at bedtime.

The medical personnel at Primary Children’s advised that Dawson undergo a bone marrow transplant in order to stop the cells from growing into full-blown leukemia. Picos said there are only three hospitals in the U.S. that provide that particular bone marrow transplant and Minnesota was the closest to Wyoming. 

On Oct. 10, 2021, the Minnesota hospital called and asked Garcia if she could arrive with Dawson for a transplant. Picos rushed Garcia and Dawson to the airport in Salt Lake City and, on Nov. 7, Dawson underwent the bone marrow transplant.

During Dawson’s transplant and recovery, Garcia and Aubrey, her 8-year-old daughter who had joined her later, were housed free of charge at the Ronald McDonald House near where Aubrey was able to get schooling. Picos and Garcia’s 2-year-old daughter, Annabella, stayed at home.  Picos, who works for Redi Services out of Rock Springs, said Annabella was taken care of by his mother while he stayed and worked. 

Picos said he traveled 17 hours to be with Rebecca and the children three different times over the six months in Minnesota, and he was so happy when they finally were able to come home.

Dawson will have to return to Minnesota in May for a check-up and then again in November. If all goes well, the next check-ups will only be once a year until there are no signs of cancer cells.

“He is a happy little boy and is glad to be home,” Picos said of Dawson. “His little sister is happy to be able to play with him again.”

Garcia, who’s been home caring for her son, sent comments via email to the Herald.

“I’m forever indebted to the hospital in Minnesota, they saved my boy! They helped us, my family, in whatever I needed. The staff and all the different families I met were wonderful,” she wrote. “We are still so fragile at this time, and it’s day- and nightcare, alongside working and returning back to school on top of caring for Dawson’s sisters. But we’re one determined family to get Dawson back to full recovery and being a healthy boy once more. Thanks to my fiancé, Manuel, for being so thoughtful like he always is. This newspaper story came as a complete shock to me.”

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