Plasma donations save lives, and for Ethan McCullough and his mother, Amanda Blaker, it did just that.
When Ethan was 8, he failed his school vision test which caused his mother to reach out to an optometrist close to the family. This optometrist diagnosed him with uveitis— an inflammation of the middle layer of the eyewall known as the uvea. This disease is pretty rare, and Ethan was feeling side effects severely in the years to follow.
Amanda reached out to several doctors and it became a worrisome experience. After running hundreds of tests, sitting through several surgeries, and trying several treatments, doctors still could not pinpoint the cause of the uveitis and that was causing Ethan’s health to worsen.
After all the time, money, and energy put into getting Ethan better, Amanda started to feel defeated.
During this time, Amanda’s father passed from cancer which reignited her fighting spirit to find what was really going on with her son’s health.
After years of looking for answers, Amanda finally pieced together something that was overlooked years prior: the possibility of Ethan having an immunodeficiency. She put this theory together after reviewing all the medical documents of her children that she procured from the different health professionals that they saw growing up.
This breakthrough thought was what they needed to help Ethan see an immunologist who diagnosed Ethan with a primary immunodeficiency (PI). Shortly after, Ethan began Ig replacement therapy which helped to subdue many of the issues he was fighting; The rashes and arthritis that he had developed during this period no longer affected him and he was able to come off of steroid treatments as well.
For Ethan, and many like him living with a PI or other chronic disorder, the Ig replacement therapy made from donated plasma helped keep him healthy. The plasma supply in the United States is still a critical issue as we find more uses for this valuable and lifesaving resource. If you’re able to donate, we encourage you to help individuals like Ethan to be healthier and happy. Visit www.plasmahero.org to find out more. Hear more about Amanda and Ethan here.
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