PITTSBURG — Next Wednesday, the American Red Cross will be honoring three-year-old Jaden Perona to help his family raise awareness of hemophilia and the need for blood.
May is Trauma Awareness Month — and, according to a release, all blood types are needed, but the Red Cross urges O and AB negative blood types to give.
The blood drive will be from 1 to 6 p.m. on May 17 and 8:30 a.m. to 2 p.m. May 18 at the Countryside Christian Church in Pittsburg.
When Jami and Jim Perona adopted Jaden they had no way to know he would be diagnosed with hemophilia.
“Hemophilia is a genetic blood disorder that runs on the mother's side,”Jamie said. “Since Jaden was adopted we had no idea he would have it.”
Jaden was diagnosed with hemophilia type A with factor 8 missing from the blood on June 2015, which means Jaden is susceptible to bruising and slow blood clotting.
When he started crawling the family began to notice bruises on his knees — knots which stuck out. Jami said she began asking friends and they said he could simply be an easy bruiser. When Jaden got his ankle stuck in his crib, they were sure it was broken — after a visit to the doctor. x-rays confirmed his ankle was not broken at all.
Later on, Jaden stuck his hand in a drawer as it closed and it swelled up similar to his previous injuries. Alarmed, Jami took her son to the doctor and once again the doctors and x-ray technicians were certain he had broken his hand — the results confirmed there were no breakages.
The doctors referred Jaden to Children’s Mercy Hospital in Kansas City, Missouri, to do blood tests.
“They discovered he had severe hemophilia type A with Factor 8 missing from the blood.”
Jami said the most common misconception about hemophilia is that her son does not bleed too much, he just bleeds for longer periods of time.
“For example if he were to get a cut on knee,” Jami said. “Compared to his best friend, his will clot quickly but Jaden’s will continue to bleed for two or three hours — sometimes through bandages.”
Jaden had a port implanted and a nurse taught the Perona’s how to give Jaden his medicine which he receives twice a week at home.
Jami said thankfully Jaden does not need the blood transfusions he would have required had he been born in the 1970s or 80s — instead he receives the factor he was missing.
Jami said their oldest son, Tate, was at first nervous to play with Jaden, but said Tate is a great brother and is taking care of Jaden well.
“He’s a good protector,” Jami Perona said.
“We are excited to be honored,” Jami said. “We want people to be aware of hemophilia and make ourselves available to speak to those with hemophilia.”
— Stephanie Potter is a staff writer at the Morning Sun. She can be emailed at firstname.lastname@example.org or follow her on Twitter @PittStephP.