By Amy Nile Herald Writer
MONROE — Trey Lauren had no idea how strong he was. Now, the Monroe boy has the scars from fighting flesh-eating bacteria to prove it.
Lauren, 13, returned home last week after a 23-day stint at Seattle Children’s Hospital. He underwent 13 surgeries to get rid of necrotizing fasciitis, commonly called flesh-eating bacteria.
The Hidden River Middle School seventh-grader was having an air gun war with friends when he cut his right knee in mid-March. He got six stitches and didn’t think anything more of it.
A couple days later, Lauren landed in the emergency room with a fever and a swollen leg. His parents, Mark and Randi Lauren, along with his sister, Taylor, 20, awaited word from doctors.
A surgeon told Trey he was 12 hours away from losing his leg. He would have faced death in two days without medical care.
“We were all stunned,” Randi Lauren said. “We were all just waiting, crying.”
The surgeons opened Trey’s leg from his hip to his ankle. They also cut from his knee to his groin to fight the unpredictable and fast-moving bacteria.
“He was just amazing all the way through,” Randi Lauren said. “He was so strong every day.”
Trey faced many setbacks as he underwent 11 of the surgeries in two weeks. Before one procedure, he shared confidence that he would survive.
“I just wanted to let my parents know I could fight this,” he said. “I told them, ‘I got this.’”
And that became his motto.
Seattle Seahawks quarterback Russell Wilson echoed the can-do sentiment when he visited Trey at the hospital. The two athletes are both baseball fans.
Trey credits his years in the sport for giving him the perseverance to get through the last month.
“It’s crazy to think I could have lost my life just from a scrape on my knee,” the first baseman and pitcher said. “But stuff happens.”
A girl from Redmond High School and a University of Washington nursing student were among Trey’s visitors at the hospital. They both had their own bouts with flesh-eating bacteria and shared their success stories.
Trey’s baseball teammates showed their support by wearing wristbands with his jersey number, 21. They also sported “Team Trey” t-shirts.
The Laurens said they’re grateful for the outpouring of support.
“We just feel blessed and humbled,” said Mark Lauren, who does sales for Rust-Oleum.
People prayed, held fundraisers, built money-raising webpages and sent messages from all over on social media. One website has raised more than $15,000 of its $25,000 goal for the family.
“We would sit and cry at night seeing all of the support,” said Randi Lauren, who works at Olympic Dealer Marketing.
At one benefit, in Monroe, people videotaped themselves jumping into Lake Tye. The stunt, Trey said, made him laugh during his hospital stay.
“If it was somebody else, I’d be doing the same thing,” he said.
Now, Trey is on the road to recovery. He’s happy to be healing in his own bed. He’s also looking forward to walking on his own.
Before his illness, he was counting down the days until a family trip to Disney World. The family plans to rebook the trip once Trey is up to it.
He expects to focus on physical therapy in the coming weeks before going back to school full time. Trey has his sights set on returning to baseball by the end of the season.
“He’s going to come back,” Randi Lauren said. “I knew he was strong but he’s a lot stronger than I ever gave him credit for.”
“It’s made us all stronger,” Mark Lauren added.
Amy Nile: 425-339-3192; firstname.lastname@example.org.