ANTIOCH -- A community celebration and blood drive to welcome Matthew Ouimet home will be held Thursday at Antioch City Prewett Water Park. With a little luck, the guest of honor will be able to attend his own party.
After many months of dialysis, Matthew, 2-year-old son of Antioch's Kelly and Kristi Ouimet, received a kidney and liver transplant June 4-5 at UCSF Benioff Children's Hospital, and was discharged Aug. 14.
Though generally in good health since returning home, recent lab results concerned his doctors and they have ordered more tests, including an ultrasound, on Thursday morning. There is a chance that Matthew could be readmitted to UCSF for further study of a troublesome liver bile duct, Kristi Ouimet said Tuesday, which would mean Matthew might miss his party.
"We hope we can be there," she said of the celebration. "This will be a more dramatic entrance. If we can't, this is still a celebration for where we are now. This is all so much bigger than us. We all have an opportunity to make a difference. It's as simple as giving blood."
The blood drive, administered by the American Red Cross, will be held from 1-7 p.m. in the community center adjacent to the water park. The water park will be open from 4-7 p.m. Though attractions will be open, food concession stands will not. Pizza Pirate will have a food truck on-site, and will sponsor a children's pizza-eating contest. There will be a deejay, piñatas, and Team Matthew T-shirts for purchase.
"It's not a fundraiser," Kristi Ouimet said. "It's a free event, just to have a good time."
At a Team Matthew blood drive held at St. Ignatius of Antioch Church in July, 114 donors gave 122 pints of blood. Matthew received more than one gallon of blood transfusions during recovery from his transplant.
Since being discharged last month, Matthew has continued to recover from a series of small strokes that weakened his right arm. He has follow-up appointments scheduled with a physical therapist and a neurologist. Meanwhile, "His walking, his arm, everything's been great," Kristi Ouimet said.
The toddler was readmitted to UCSF on Aug. 27 for two days after lab results suggested possible rejection of his liver. A biopsy showed no indication of rejection.
On Monday, doctors removed a dialysis catheter that was implanted in Matthew's chest when he was 5 months old. (He still has a feeding tube in his abdomen.) Once that wound heals, his mom said, he will be able to go swimming and take a "real" bath.
Contact Gary Peterson at 925-952-5053. Follow him on Twitter at twitter.com/garyscribe.
What: Team Matthew blood drive and welcome-home party
When: Thursday, 1-7 p.m. blood drive, 4-7 p.m. water park open
Where: Antioch City Prewett Water Park, 4701 Lone Tree Way, Antioch
To donate blood: Call 800-RED CROSS, go to redcrossblood.org (source code: MatthewOuimet), or drop in Thursday (subject to availability)