On Oct. 21, 2005 Shannon and Chris welcomed a beautiful baby boynamed Teigan into their family. For two years life seemed normal. Then on Teigan’s second birthday, a large, protruding bruise appeared on his ribs. Thinking their son had a broken rib, Teigan’s parents rushed him to the emergency room at Children’s Hospital at Erlanger. The ER staff found something unexpected. Preliminary blood work showed that Teigan had a bleeding disorder. He was then referred to Erlanger’s Pediatric Hematology and Oncology clinic for more blood work. To everyone’s surprise, tests revealed that Teigan had lived a full two years with severe hemophilia B, a genetic disorder where the blood doesn’t clot properly.
It was a scary situation, but the family made a commitment to move forward.
“The great thing about this whole situation is that we embraced it,” Shannon says. “We didn’t let it scare us. And we knew that there was a chance of having another child with a bleeding disorder, but we didn’t let that stop us. One year after Teigan’s diagnosis, we had another baby boy named Raleigh.”
The Neonatal Intensive Care Unit (NICU) team and a hematologist awaited Raleigh’s arrival. Later they would find out that he too had hemophilia. Shannon continues, “At first our hearts were broken because we were still learning about this disease. I wish we knew then, what we know now. Our two sons have been through some rough patches. But with medical advances, they can live close to normal lives. They both have porta catheters that we access at least twice a week and give them the clotting factor that their body lacks. If they have an injury or a spontaneous joint, muscle, or soft-tissue bleed, we give them more.”
Between the two of them, the boys have had 7 hospitalizations and 6 surgeries. The hard part is that even simple surgery or a minor fracture, which would normally be an outpatient procedure, requires that they stay in the hospital. Teigan recently spent a week in the hospital for strep throat and an abscess on his tonsils. But these challenges haven’t slowed the boys down.
“We let our boys live normal lives, but we are quick to educate them and our community with the help of the Hematology staff at Children’s Hospital at Erlanger,” Shannon says. “We love Children’s Hospital and the love and support that they provide to our family each and every time that we step foot in the door. They have taught us about hemophilia, how to manage it, and how to advocate for our children and for that, we are grateful.”
Teigan now plays baseball, basketball, tennis, and golf. And Raleigh is trying out for basketball this year and also plays baseball, tennis, and golf. They are honor students who love swimming, fishing, and hunting and also running around on their grandparent’s farm. Both boys speak openly about hemophilia and do not let anyone or anything hold them back. They are extremely remarkable kids, and Shannon and Chris could not be more proud.