Drawing hope: Raffle raises over $2,800 for boy’s medical treatments

Published 4:06 am Saturday, August 3, 2019

There were 28 winners of prizes in Wednesday’s raffle at Bogalusa City Hall, but the biggest winner of all was arguably the family of Joshua Luke Crosby.

Luke is an 8-year-old boy, the son of Caitlyn and Justin Rester, and Josh Crosby. In February, he was diagnosed as having MOG Antibody Disease, a rare neuro-autoimmune disease, as well as multi-phasic disseminated encephalomyelitis — a disease that viciously attacks the brain.

Luke will have to undergo treatments for the rest of his life, which will include immune suppressing drug-infusions, Intravenous Immune Globulin therapy, and high-dose steroids. These treatments will require visits to a specialist in Dallas, Texas.

Luke is the grandson of Capt. David Miller of the Bogalusa Police Department, and the BPD has sponsored a raffle the past few months to help raise money for Luke’s family to help with the treatments. On Wednesday, Luke helped draw the winning tickets for the prizes, and was present with his family as they received a check of $2,811 from the proceeds.

“I am very, very grateful,” Luke’s mother Caitlyn Rester said. “I am just amazed at how the community has really come together for him. We really, really appreciate it.”

Luke certainly wasn’t allowing his medical diagnosis to affect his mood Wednesday. The youngster danced and showed off a bicep flex for Police Chief Kendall Bullen, and also was excited when he pulled his own name for one of the prizes.

“I can’t believe it said my name!” he exclaimed, after winning a set of board games from McNabb Games.

Luke was initially diagnosed, as a baby, with a minor heart condition, which was manageable with minimal health issues through the age of 6. In the summer of 2017, Luke began to have regular bad headaches and was lethargic often. Eventually, he was diagnosed with Encephalitis, and it was determined that he had a large mass of inflammation in his brain.

Family members said that Luke also suffered from Intracranial Hypertension — an increased pressure in the brain — because his cerebral spinal fluid wasn’t draining properly. The team of doctors diagnosed Luke with IH, and a shunt was surgically placed in the little boy’s head, to assist in the drainage of cerebral spinal fluid from the brain into the abdominal cavity.

In January, Luke began to show different symptoms. He started to lean to the left and tilt his head to the left when he walked, and teachers noticed that his motor skills and handwriting were starting to decline. The appearance of these symptoms led to the diagnosis in February, and the requirement of regular visits to his Dallas specialist.

However, Luke’s family is keeping up the faith, and the community’s support in events like Wednesday’s raffle are a part of that message of hope.

“The road ahead is long, but Luke has his faith, and loves Jesus and praises him daily,” a family member wrote in a flier titled “Luke’s Story.” “Luke is a brave little soldier, and willingly undergoes whatever needs to be done, in an effort to have a normal life. Joshua Luke Crosby is our little hero!”

If anyone wants to make a donation to Luke’s Medical Fund, they can contact Miller at 985-570-4202 or mail donations to “Capt. David Miller, c/o Luke Crosby, 214 Arkansas Ave., Bogalusa, LA 70427.”