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Spirit of Acadiana: Maddox's Challenge

Posted at 6:36 PM, Apr 17, 2020
and last updated 2020-04-17 19:44:24-04

YOUNGSVILLE, La. — The gradual reopening of Acadiana will be considered a good thing by many residents, and for good reason. But there are some who see the return of "normal" as a potential cause for concern.

“I don’t think there’s ever going to be a day like, ’O.K., today IS the day that we can go back how we were a couple of months ago’. That’s the hard part. That there’s never an answer.”

Laura Leblanc is half of a Youngsville couple who understands both sides of the “re-open Acadiana now” debate. Essentially, the question for Laura and her husband Jason is: Will ‘good for business and good for our community’ put their courageous child at risk?

Oh, yes; the courageous child. Let’s just say that a five-year old superhero named Maddox Leblanc lives inside their home. He’s battled immunity issues his whole life, and the corona pandemic has only heightened the seriousness of those issues.

Maddox was born with bronchiectasis, which basically means his left lung cannot get rid of mucous. That, says his father Jason, has led to repeated bouts of pneumonia in his young life, and the risk of infection is constant. “He can get the same cold twice; he does not have the same defense against anything.”

So, you understand that the coronavirus has only made this family of eight even more guarded, more cautious. The Leblancs simply can’t take a chance. Even as Acadiana re-opens for business.

“We have to be careful if we order anything. Where’s it coming from?” says Jason.

And Laura fine-tunes their dilemma. “It could be spread so easy, so we’re like, ‘where do we go? What do we do? When we go to these places what do we need to do? How cautious do we have to be? Yeh, we have to have a game plan.”

The Leblancs understand: jobwise, they, too, have been affected by the worldwide quarantine. And what about their other children, who are perfectly healthy? The new-new normal? It brings only questions.

“But now we’re the ones who are gonna’ be gasping and say, (deep breath) what do we do now, right? Yes, we want to be normal, we want to do the things we’re supposed to do, get back into life, but how do we do that with this threat that still remains until there’s a vaccine, a cure or whatever? How do we do that?”

With the risk still out there, it’s likely Maddox will be unable to return to school next year. And in the meantime, the Leblancs will try to balance reality with a young man’s spiritual joie de vivre.

“It’s a very fine line for Jason and I,” explains Laura. “We absolutely do not want to raise Maddox to live in fear, we want to have faith over fear, but at the same time we do want to be smart and cautious.”

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