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Misfortune Pursues Family Keeping Vigil For Sick Baby

October 2, 1987

CHICAGO (AP) _ A worried couple keeping vigil here for their baby son, who was critically ill after two liver transplants and 13 other operations, faced replacing most of their possessions after burglars ransacked their Iowa home.

″They even took the baby’s stroller - it was new, he’d never used it,″ said the 11-month-old boy’s mother, Deanna Foster.

Burglars smashed through a plate-glass window in the dining room of their Des Moines, Iowa, home on Wednesday and took a television, a videocassette recorder, a microwave oven and her husband’s only suit, police and Mrs. Foster said.

″They dumped out the dresser drawers - they took all his work shirts and blue jeans, too,″ she said. Her husband, Bill, 24, is an unemployed steel construction worker, she said.

The baby buggy and some Christmas presents of the Foster’s 3 1/2 -year-old daughter, Amanda, also were stolen, said Mrs. Foster, 22, who also is unemployed.

″We haven’t even been home to look at it - it’s a small worry, compared to the rest,″ she said.

A fund was set up Thursday at the Brenton Bank in Urbandale, Iowa, to help the family recover its losses.

The break-in occurred while they kept vigil for their son, Kyle, following his second liver transplant, Mrs. Foster said.

Since July 14, when the baby underwent his first transplant at the University of Chicago’s Wyler Children’s Hospital, the Fosters have spent most of their time at a nearby hostel for parents of hospitalized children.

Foster said he has occasionally made the 330-mile drive home for overnight visits with their daughter, who stays with relatives.

Kyle suffers from biliary atresia, a degenerative liver disease. Last week, he was stricken with a serious infection, and was listed Thursday in critical but stable condition, hospital spokeswoman Gretchen Flock said.

″It was a real bad one - they told us last week he was going to die,″ said Foster.

″The liver is working now, but he’s definitely not out of the woods yet,″ Ms. Flock said. ″I hear he’s awake and watching ’Sesame Street‴ in the hospital’s intensive care unit, she said.

Besides the transplants, the child has undergone 13 ″clean-up″ operations, Foster said.

Medical bills have topped $500,000, Foster said. The couple has medical insurance, but isn’t sure yet whether that will cover the costs, he said. He said he has applied for financial help through a federal program.

The couple also were burglary victims last Christmas, shortly after Kyle was born. Mrs. Foster said the family has no theft insurance and could not afford to replace the items.

They have fire and hazard insurance, she said, ″but don’t write that, or somebody’s going to put a match to it (the house) now. ″That’s just how our luck’s been going.″

No arrests have been made in the break-in, Des Moines police Detective Terry Kemp said.

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