‘It would kill him’: Fearful of what could happen if their immunocompromised son gets COVID, local family encouraged by ongoing UW study

Researchers are studying ways to get kids with underlying conditions safely back in the classroom

MADISON, Wis.– As we learned from the death of Colin Powell, COVID can be life-ending for people with underlying health conditions. That’s especially true for unvaccinated, immunocompromised children.

News 3 Now spoke with the family of a Cottage Grove boy who is living with a rare condition, and the doctor, who’s helping kids like him safely return to the classroom.

Cade Moureau’s life has never been normal. He’s spent the first six years of his life in and out of doctors’ offices. Cade has Prader-Willi syndrome: a rare condition that causes lack of muscle tone, sleep apnea, and waves of uncontrollable hunger. It also causes Cade to get much sicker than most kids from common viruses.

“Anytime he’s had the flu, it’s landed us in the hospital,” his mom, Katie, explained. “Actually, every time it’s landed us in the hospital.”

That’s why the Moureau family is extraordinarily concerned about what will happen if Cade catches COVID.

“It would kill him. It would definitely kill him. I know they say kids are doing better, but kids also make it through the flu without going to the hospital. Not my son. His primary doctor told us this too. It could really kill him,” said Katie.

Enter UW Health Dr. Ryan Coller. Since May, Coller has been leading a study, funded by a $2 million grant from the National Institutes of Health, to help kids like Cade return to a somewhat-regular routine.

Coller is studying what it will take for immunocompromised children to safely return to the classroom. Less than six months in, Coller’s study already has some results, which anyone can access for free on the study’s website.

“One thing our study really shows is having access to testing is doable, feasible, and practical,” said Coller.

“The other is that, in order for children with complex health issues to be healthy and safe, everyone has to be healthy and safe,” he added.

That means getting vaccinated, wearing masks, and maintaining a basic level of empathy, although sometimes difficult, can help kids like Cade return to school… and life, as normal as possible.