Wes's Story

Wes's Story

Wes was such a wonderful man, he was full of love, life and kindness. He was always helping others and did it with a smile. He was a hard worker and never let a problem hold him back. Wes was the best dad and was so proud to be a father and husband.


Wes and I met in 2014 and spent 4.5 years building an amazing relationship, which carried into our marriage. Wes was an accountant and loved anything numbers, go figure. We lived a pretty normal life, nothing too crazy but also nothing too boring. A good mix of staying in and watching a movie or going out for a night of dinner and drinks. Wes and I had many similarities, we played sports together, liked many of the same shows, had similar views on many topics and found the same stupid humour funny. We had many similarities, but we also had enough differences to make our relationship work. We had our challenges like any relationship, but together we worked at it.


2 years after getting married, in the summer of 2020, we welcomed our daughter. We were in the thick of Covid as brand-new parents, talk about a way to start parenthood! We navigated this new chapter of our lives the best we could. We had a few laughs and just as many cries, but together we figured things out pretty quickly. 


A few months before our daughter was born, Wes started developing some mild symptoms. Nothing that was too concerning, but enough to book an appointment with his doctor. After a few tests and a check up with the doctor, everything looked pretty normal. His doctor figured it was a bit of depression/anxiety, this was something Wes had dealt with in the past and some of his symptoms lined up with what he had experienced prior. Between the stress of a new job, the limitations of Covid and welcoming a new baby shortly, the diagnosis made sense. We continued on with life and we did the best we could to manage Wes’s symptoms.


Over the next year Wes’s symptoms stayed pretty much the same, some months better than others. His symptoms became our new normal and we stopped worrying as much and just took them as they came, we tried to make the best of the situation we were in.  


Heading into the summer of 2021, Wes’s illness was a lot more complicated and challenging. Wes’s symptoms were getting worse and new symptoms were appearing. His first admission into the hospital was in the middle of the summer. Wes spent 2 weeks in the hospital, with the first few days being pretty critical. Wes had every test possible, they tested him for every cancer, autoimmune, virus and disease they could think of. They did biopsy’s, MRI’s, CT scans, ultrasounds, but every test was coming back negative or inconclusive. By the time Wes got to day 14, his body stabilized enough with generic medication so he was able to come home. He spent the rest of the summer off of work, resting and recovering. Over the fall and early winter, Wes continued to worsen as each month passed, spending more time in and out of hospital. Still, no one could figure out why a healthy young man became so sick so quickly. He was basically surviving each day. Life for him was not easy, all he wanted were answers but all he was getting were question marks. 


The beginning of 2022 is when everything changed for us. Wes’s condition was at it’s worse. At the beginning of January, a small team of specialist thought Wes had a rare autoimmune, but very quickly that diagnosed was proved to be inaccurate. At this point we had lost all hope, we had been at this for almost 2 years and still no one knew what was wrong. I was watching my husband slowly worsen right in front of me and I could do nothing to help him. I felt so helpless and terrified.


I remember this day like it was yesterday, it was the beginning of February. I was woken up by Wes’s heavy breathing, he was having a hard time catching his breath. Immediately I checked his temperature, he was at 105 degrees. Wes could barley talk or sit up, he was in such a daze and didn’t know where he was. I knew Wes had to get to the hospital, this was the worst I had ever seen him. I called one of Wes's specialists, she advised us to head to an out-of-town hospital, there was a specialist there who would be our only hope at a proper diagnosis. She was going to make a few phone calls and would have someone waiting for us when we arrived at the hospital.


Once we got to the hospital, we met with a specialist. He advised us that Wes was extremely sick and needed to be admitted. They were going to run a bunch of test and hopefully have some answers. He told me what we were dealing with was most likely rare and hard to treat, but they were going to do everything they could to pinpoint what was causing Wes to become so sick.


After spending the rest of the day/night with Wes, I headed home. The next morning, I got a phone call from the specialist at the hospital. They finally had a diagnosis and were starting treatment. We had a rare disease know as Hemophagocytic Lymphohistiocytosis (HLH). Wes’s immune system was in a hyperactive state, attacking all of his organs, bone, tissue and blood. Wes’s body as shutting down and fast.


The goal for Wes was to stop his immune system from attacking his body, strengthen his body and then clear his system and start fresh with a stem cell transplant. The road ahead was going to be long and challenging, but Wes wasn’t ready to give up.


Over the next 12 weeks Wes spent day after day in the hospital going through rounds of chemo, doses of steroids, blood transfusions, platelet transfusions, biopsy’s, scans and other random tests. He was like a human medical dummy, being poked and pried day in and day out. His team had to stay on top of and ahead of HLH in order to give Wes the best chance possible.


We were all hopeful that Wes would be the miracle story, the one that you would read about for inspiration and hope. We knew in the backs of our minds that the outcome for success was very slim, yet everyone stayed positive. Wes fought so hard; he was determined to come home to his family. But as each day passed Wes's condition worsened and we were moving farther and father away from the goal of a stem cell transplant. 


On May 3, 2022 after 12 long and difficult weeks, Wes passed away. HLH was too aggressive and his body couldn’t fight any longer. Even though Wes didn’t come home physically, he will always be home in our hearts.



In Loving Memory
Wesley Gray
March 13, 1991 – May 3, 2022
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