Despite Burns, She’s a Happy Child

  Kaylee Twyman-1 (2) No child should have to endure the kind of suffering that six-year-old Kaylee T. has faced, but despite serious illness, the little girl from Gordonsville, Virginia “is a happy child in high spirits,” says her father and full-time caregiver, Jermaine. Kaylee had just started kindergarten when one day in October 2014 she became violently ill and broke out in a rash. Her lips began to swell and blisters erupted inside her mouth. The condition quickly spread overnight. Jermaine called his wife, Daisy, and she immediately came home from work. They sped to the ER at the University of Virginia Medical Center 45 minutes away where Kaylee was admitted. Continue reading “Despite Burns, She’s a Happy Child”

Boy with Rare Disease Lives Up to His Name

By Stephanie Singer, Intern, Virginia Wesleyan College

zeq and Kristine in plane“He’s going to be his own prophet. He’s going to write his own book.”

These thoughts passed through Kristine’s head when she first held her son. She named her son Ezequiel, an alternate spelling of the biblical name Ezekiel. The name means “God’s strength,” a unique spelling reflecting the boy’s individuality.

Another Opinion At two years old, Zeq, as he’s called, weighed only 19 pounds and was severely malnourished. Doctors thought he had food allergies. Kristine disagreed; it was impossible to have allergies to every food. She drove to Baltimore, Maryland, hoping another doctor could help her son. “We needed a fresh set of eyes,” she said. At the hospital, an immunologist diagnosed Zeq with eosinophilic esophagitis, or EoE. Eosinophilic esophagitis is a chronic immune system disease. It occurs when white blood cells build up in the esophagus and attack substances such as food. Complications include scarring and tearing of the esophagus, vomiting, and severe weight loss. Angel Flight to the Rescue After learning of Zeq’s diagnosis, Kristine went to some internet forums that she regularly participated in and asked if there was anyone who could help get them back and forth to Baltimore from their home in Virginia Beach, Virginia. She got an answer: Angel Flight. The charity has been providing flights for Kristine and Zeq, who will be six in July, for three years. Continue reading “Boy with Rare Disease Lives Up to His Name”

‘When I’m Flying I Don’t Feel Pain’


Karen & Dennis in New Bern

by Stephanie Singer, Intern (Virginia Wesleyan College) Karen C. has a condition called myasthenia pravis. Trying to say it will twist your tongue. That was the least of Karen’s concerns. This condition rendered twisting, or any other motion, almost impossible. Myasthenia pravis is an autoimmune disease in which antibodies attack the areas where nerves and muscles join. This causes limited mobility. “The condition is difficult,” said the 54-year-old woman, who has trouble walking any further than the length of her kitchen. Treatment Complications One of the medications doctors prescribed was Prednisone. The drug is an immunosuppressant, meaning that it weakens the immune system. It is prescribed for diseases such as myasthenia pravis. Continue reading “‘When I’m Flying I Don’t Feel Pain’”

Woman’s Motto Aids in Fight against Illness

20150529_145742 By Sarah Payne, Intern, University of Virginia “I’m more than a conqueror,” is one woman’s inspiring life motto after battling several severe medical conditions throughout most of her adult life. For Tina, 39, from Virginia Beach, Virginia, her medical journey first started in 1993 when she began to experience the swelling of various body parts, symptoms many doctors wrote off as hay fever or allergies. It wasn’t until 2009 that she was properly diagnosed at John Hopkins Medical Center with Hereditary Angioedema (HAE), “a very rare and potentially life-threatening genetic condition.” Continue reading “Woman’s Motto Aids in Fight against Illness”

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