mother works through her grief to help others
Benefit for HLH research set for Dec. 12 at Milan
Wanda English Burnett, Editor
Facing the holidays without her son is something a Sunman mother
hoped would never happen. But it did. A rare disease, Hemophagocytic
Lympho Histiocytosis, (HLH) ravaged David Madisons 17-year-old
body last Thanksgiving and claimed his life just months later on
Thanksgiving without my first born son... April Borders
clasped her hand to her mouth while tears coursed down her face.
The thought is horrifying to her, but she refuses to idly sit by
and let the disease claim more lives without a fight.
This is what we can do, commented Fred Elliott, quartermaster
at the Milan VFW where Borders works. They are planning a benefit
supper to raise money for the Histiocytosis Association of America.
This group has launched a research campaign to try to learn more
about the disease that only strikes one in a million people. Since
HLH is so rare and has only had a title in the medical community
since 2004, it does not garner government funding for research.
Borders describes HLH as a disease that allows white blood cells
to come out in an immature form, collecting in the organs, ultimately
shutting them down. It is truly rare to strike a teenager like her
son and mostly is dominate in babies.
One day David was perfectly healthy, the next he could barely function
and shortly thereafter, he was gone. The quick death sentence rocked
the world of Borders and her family and shes vowed to do everything
in her power to help others diagnosed with HLH.
The fundraiser will be held December 12 from 4-8 p.m. at the Milan
VFW. The spaghetti dinner will be complete with salad, garlic bread
and a variety of great desserts. All proceeds will be given to HLH
Although Thanksgiving will be one of the hardest days for Borders,
she says she has so much to be thankful for. She is grateful to
her employer for their generosity in sponsoring the event that honors
the memory of her son and could potentially save the lives of others.
She is thankful for a community that has responded in the past and
know they will once again come through.
Borders says Davids four brothers keep me going,
and noted the boys - Jonathan 16, Nathan 15, Duane 12 and Christian
11, will be helping with the benefit. They mean everything
to me, she told The Versailles Republican. She also is grateful
to Rev. Dan Steffen, pastor of the Cornerstone Ministries Church
in Sunman, who has stood by the family since the beginning of Davids
illness. I dont know what I would have done without
the good Lord and Pastor Dan, she admitted, saying the grief
was overwhelming at times.
While theres an empty place in her heart that no one else
but David could fill, Borders says time does make a difference and
the hope that she can stir enough interest in research to treat
HLH keeps her going. I cant stand by and do nothing,
Borders noted. She has contacted popular television shows such as
Oprah and Montel Williams to try to get them to do a segment on
HLH patients. So far her efforts have fallen on deaf ears. But,
she is not to be deterred. Ill keep writing, calling,
contacting people until something gets done, she vows.
The love for her son begs everyone to come to the free will donation
benefit and not only share his memory but give to help others experiencing
the same tragedy. We dont know what dollar is the one
that will find a cure, but it may be just one of our very own...
hopefully we can save another mother, father, or brother the devastation
we have in our hearts today, Borders concluded.
WANDA ENGLISH BURNETT PHOTO
April Borders goes over the paperwork from the HLH research
foundation with Fred Elliott, quartermaster of the Milan
VFW where a spaghetti dinner benefit is being planned for
December 12. Proceeds from the benefit will go to fund research
to find a cure for the rare disease that took the life of
her son, David.
A healthy David Madison, 17,
smiles before his life was changed and ultimately
taken by a rare disease called HLH.