Dawn Solomon, Carrier
Hometown: Grayslake, Illinois
Involvement with the BDFF: 18 years
When Dawn and Patrick Solomon moved to the Orlando area close to 20 years ago, they already had a son with hemophilia and a daughter who was a carrier. Dawn was also a carrier, a gene passed down from her father. They could leave behind the cold weather, but not the fact that they were a family dealing with hemophilia. Before long, Dawn reached out to the Bleeding Disorders Foundation of Florida.
“I gained a lot from the support groups through the Foundation,” she says, adding that BDFF also provided her with educational programs, camps for families and children to share experiences, as well as camps for children where they learn how to self-infuse.
Within four years, the Solomons had another son, William, who was also born with hemophilia.
“There is 50-50 chance as a carrier to pass on the gene,” says Dawn, who is diagnosed as a mild hemophiliac and does not require medication. Neither does her daughter, Ellie Bottey, although Ellie was administered a blood clotting product when she had a tonsillectomy.
Being dealt a more difficult hand than other families can be taxing emotionally, but support from other families and programs on staying positive helped Dawn lift that burden and put life into perspective.
William, 16, says he is grateful for everything the Foundation has done for him and his family, a relationship and a bond that goes back further than he can remember. He is told that he has known Executive Director Fran Haynes since he was two months old.
“They helped me because they helped my mom out a lot emotionally,” he says. “They really helped her when I had to infuse.” William has been taking blood clotting medication since he was a baby. He now self-infuses, a procedure he learned via the Foundation.
“It’s not like diabetes,” says Dawn, who is a patient advocate for a home health care company. “It takes a lot of practice.”
William now infuses two to three times a week.
“It gives me the clotting factor of a normal person,” he says. “I know if I don’t, it can cause severe damage, mostly to the joints, leading to early arthritis.”
Besides avoiding most sports, William leads a normal teenage American boy existence. The East Ridge High tenth grader enjoys math and has aspirations to become a mechanical engineer after college. His dad, a cancer survivor, is a retired global engineering director.
“All I need is to infuse. Everything else is normal. Maybe I am a little stronger than others, because I know I can endure pain.”
Dawn adds that the Foundation has also helped the Solomon family by granting a scholarship to the eldest son, James, now an RN and on his way to receiving his BSN.
“I think we have a perfectly normal family,” says Dawn. “I believe we are closer and have more appreciation for life.”