“John is always at risk for internal bleeding”
John has always been a very active kid and excellent wrestler, so a bump or bruise was normal for the teen. But after the wrestling season ended and John’s latest bruise didn’t go away, his family grew concerned. Add in the fact that he started coughing up blood, and they knew something was definitely wrong. After a few tests, the doctor was able to diagnose John easily; the teen suffered from idiopathic thrombocytopenic purpura (ITP).
This chronic and life-threatening disorder causes easy and excessive bruising and bleeding resulting from low levels of cells that help blood clot. These cells, called platelets, count in around 150,000 for the average adult. The day before John’s 17th birthday, he was admitted to the hospital with a platelet count of only 7,000. John immediately started IVIG treatments that contained concentrated antibodies and plasma.
After John was released, his platelet count dropped again and doctors administered more treatments. This time they added steroids to hopefully keep his counts consistent. But the steroids took a dangerous toll on John’s personality and health; he suffered from weight gain, aggression, and insomnia. His family decided to discontinue that course of treatment. John has been holding steady with a platelet count of 25,000 since July and is being closely monitored.
John still suffers from intermittent internal bleeding and isn’t allowed to wrestle anymore; but despite everything, John has remained positive. The 17-year-old is always looking for new ways to raise awareness about blood and plasma donation and always willing to help others. Whether it’s assisting incoming freshman, becoming certified in phlebotomy, managing the wrestling team or preventing bullying in schools, John is an inspirational young man.
Despite being unable to participate in contact sports, John is still a fan, especially when it comes to the San Francisco 49ers. KWN can’t wait to give John the experience of a lifetime when he’ll get his wish granted to meet the players at a VIP team practice!