Child living in ‘bubble’ as he awaits a transplant

Hunter Bruton, now age 2, has CHARGE syndrome. He does not have a thymus and, consequently, no immune system. He is on Duke University

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Hunter Bruton, now age 2, has CHARGE syndrome. He does not have a thymus and, consequently, no immune system. He is on Duke University's wait list to have a thymus transplant. He is pictured here with his mom, Victoria Parker.

SPRINGFIELD, Mo. – Two-year-old Hunter Bruton has spent much of his life in a bubble, of sorts.

Born without a thymus, Hunter has no immune system and must stay in his sanitary bedroom most of the time. When he leaves his family’s home in Marshfield, about 30 miles northeast of Springfield, Hunter is in his wheelchair/stroller with a blanket over the top.

“Cleaning is all I do,” his mom, Victoria Parker, said. “I disinfect every day.”

Hunter’s older siblings come home from school and immediately change their clothes, wash their hands and face. They must leave their backpacks in the living room away from Hunter’s bedroom.

“(His nurses) sanitize all of his toys, his bed. Anything that would collect dust in his room has to be cleaned every day,” Parker said. “We use humidifiers and air purifiers in his room to keep the air rotated. We do as much as we can at home, but still keeping things as normal as possible for the other kids.”

Hunter Bruton, now age 2, has CHARGE syndrome. He does not have a thymus and, consequently, no immune system. He is on Duke University's wait list to have a thymus transplant. He is pictured here in 2018 with his parents, Victoria Parker and Russell Bruton.

Other than his grandparents, Hunter’s family typically visits with him via video chats.

“Everybody that comes to see him has to have a mask on. They use hand sanitizer and wash their hands,” Parker said. “I always ask before I let anyone in my house if they’ve had the flu shot, if they have been sick or have been around anyone that’s been sick within the last two weeks. Anything like that – I can’t let them in my house.”

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