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Cabarrus Magazine

Helping Others Cope

Mar 01, 2018 08:30AM ● By Jason Huddle

Helping Others Cope

As a child, I spent more time in hospital rooms, procedure rooms and exam rooms than I did in a classroom. I know I haven’t described the ideal childhood, but it was my normal.

I live with two chronic illnesses: Hemophilia A, a genetic disorder caused by a missing or defective clotting protein. My blood doesn’t clot normally, causing me to bleed longer if injured; and Crohn’s disease, a chronic inflammatory bowel disease.

As a young child, I had a difficult time understanding my illness. I didn’t fit in with my peers because I wasn’t able to do all of the things they could. I could play on the playground, but not on all of the equipment because my parents and physicians feared I would get hurt.

At home, I took my daily medication through an IV. I often had to be in a wheelchair or on crutches at school and the kids would sometimes accuse me of faking because, looking at me, it didn’t appear that anything was wrong.

At the age of 10, I was diagnosed with Crohn’s disease. I didn’t even know how to process it and was ready to give up. Thank God I didn’t.

In January 2014, I nearly lost my battle. As I lay in the hospital’s PICU, I heard my mother praying and crying for me. I decided then that I couldn’t give up – for my family or myself.

Once I recovered, I began sociotherapy so that I would have the proper tools needed to cope with my illnesses. My relationship/experience with my pharmacies – Diplomat Specialty and Cannon Pharmacy – is unique. They are a part of my health management team.

I am now a sophomore at North Carolina Central University studying Business Marketing and am a part-time employee at Cannon Pharmacy. I desire to work as a Clinical Research Associate or in pharmaceutical sales after graduation.

My health has improved tremendously. Living with chronic illness has made me resilient and dedicated to all that I do. I recently established an organization – Beat the Bleeds – which educates people on bleeding disorders. It will soon be financially assisting Hemophilia families with transportation to appointments, and with medical and household bills.

I didn’t ask for this life, but I am grateful for it because it has made me a better person.

Story by: By Austin Caldwell

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