Sunman teen fights rare disease
Benefit set for Sunday to help with medical expenses

Wanda English Burnett - Editor

“Left untreated the disease is fatal within 60 days.” A startling statement made by April Borders brings the reality of the rare disease her son David has into perspective.

As David Madison, 17, of Sunman, was attending classes as a perfectly normal student at East Central, something was taking place on the inside of him that would change his life forever. He had developed Hemophagocytic Lympho Histiocytosis, a disease that allows his white blood cells to come out in an immature form and collect in his organs shutting them down. The disease is fatal if it isn’t treated in 60 days, according to Madison’s mother, April, who said it affects only one in a million. That’s her boy, one in a million!

Madison starting getting sick in October of 2006 and began to lose a substantial amount of weight. “He was sleeping a lot,” noted his mother. She said he was first diagnosed with acid reflux, but she knew something wasn’t right because he kept losing weight at a rapid pace.

Mrs. Borders told how her son finally couldn’t get through a whole day of school because he would be so weak. “I knew something wasn’t right, I knew we needed help and quick,” she told the Osgood Journal. “I wouldn’t give up...I had a gut instinct,” she said.

The weekend of Thanksgiving David’s condition turned for the worse and finally the Sunman family got the break they needed with more than 100 doctors seeing David. “They found out he had HLH, which is rare in a teenager, it usually strikes in babies.” In December, right at the critical 60-day mark, he was diagnosed, according to his mother. She said they definitely believe in miracles.

Each week the Sunman mother and son make the trek to Riley Hospital in Indianapolis for David’s chemotherapy treatments. He is also on other medications and right now is not able to attend school. However, a tutor does come to the house to help the junior with his lessons. “They (teachers at East Central) are absolutely wonderful,” noted Mrs. Borders.

A nurse comes in to care for David once a week and his mother had to quit her job to be with him 24/7. “I wouldn’t have it any other way,” she noted, saying he needs her right now.

Before David was stricken with HLH, he was very active at his church, Sunman Community Church, where he was involved in the youth group. The church family decided to put together a benefit to help the family with medical expenses that are quickly mounting. A benefit committee was formed with Buford Cooper as the chairperson and the group quickly put together a benefit that will include professional singing groups, a silent auction, a pastry auction, and a great meal.

This Sunday, February 11, a benefit concert will be held at the Sunman Elementary School from 1-5 p.m. Entertainment will include groups such as the Woodsmen Quartet, The Faze, and Jimmy Dooley. “They have donated their time with all the proceeds going to David’s family,” noted Pastor Steffen. Many businesses and individuals in the community have donated items for the silent auction. If anyone is interested in giving for the auction they can contact the church at 623-3135.

The pie and cake auction will be spectacular. “We have professional cooks in our church,” laughed the pastor, who said the ladies are whipping up some fantastic desserts special for the auction.

There is also a fund set up at the FCN Bank at Sunman for those who would like to donate, but can’t attend the benefit. It is marked the David Madison Fund (for medical expenses).

Mrs. Borders said her son is “keeping such a positive attitude.” She said right now doctors are just trying to control the disease and the possibility of a bone marrow transplant is in the future. “David has an amazing doctor, Terry Vik,” she noted, saying with prayers and a great doctor, she believes her son will be able to enjoy things he once loved like going to his youth group and being with animals. She is thankful for a caring community, church and school, who have made their lives easier with their care and most of all prayer. “Prayers do make a difference,” she concluded.



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