Family Shares Daughter’s LCH Experience

When Charlotte Harris was born, she seemed – for all intents and purposes – to be a healthy infant. But her mother Melissa became concerned about a potential health issue when Charlotte was just three months old. At that time, Charlotte began developing persistent skin lesions. These lesions never seemed to heal correctly, so Melissa pursued medical treatment. According to reporting from ABC Action News, Charlotte was eventually diagnosed with a rare inflammatory disorder called Langerhans cell histiocytosis (LCH) at six months old.

The family began chemotherapy treatment: first at St. Jude’s, and now at St. Joseph’s Children’s Hospital in Florida. While Charlotte, now 17 months old, struggles when doctors have to access her port, her mother says that she does extremely well with the chemotherapy process.

Charlotte’s condition is multisystem, meaning it affects multiple organs throughout her body. As a result, she is considered to be “high risk” and, due to her immunocompromisation, cannot attend daycare. However, her family is hopeful that her current treatment plan will help Charlotte thrive. By sharing their story, the Harris family hopes that others going through the same situation know that they are not alone.

If you would like to donate to the family to assist with treatment, medical expenses, and other needs, you may donate here.

An Overview of Langerhans Cell Histiocytosis (LCH)

Langerhans cell histiocytosis is a rare disorder in which excess Langerhans cells or histiocytes (immune cells) accumulate throughout the body. Langerhans cells are normally found in the bone marrow, lungs, liver, lymph nodes, skin, and spleen. In people with LCH, these cells build up and form granulomas, a type of tumor. The exact cause of LCH is unknown, though it has been strongly associated with smoking cigarettes in adults. Some believe that an environmental trigger may spark LCH development. More research is needed.

LCH most commonly affects children between ages 2-3, although it can affect people of all ages. Some individuals may require treatment. For others, LCH may disappear on its own. Symptoms vary, but can include:

  • Jaundice (yellowing of the skin, eyes, and mucous membranes)
  • Pain, swelling, and bone fractures
  • Red, scaly skin papules
  • Delayed or absent puberty
  • Swollen lymph nodes
  • Thyroid dysfunction
  • Diabetes insipidus
  • Prolonged clotting time in the liver
  • Increased risk of respiratory infections
  • Vision difficulties or bulging eyes
  • Pancytopenia (lower levels of platelets, red blood cells, and white blood cells)
  • Abdominal pain
  • Dizziness
  • Seizures

Treatment options include surgery, steroids, and chemotherapy.

Jessica Lynn

Jessica Lynn

Jessica Lynn has an educational background in writing and marketing. She firmly believes in the power of writing in amplifying voices, and looks forward to doing so for the rare disease community.

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