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Battle with bleeding disorders: Howard County family shares their story

Mar 25, 2024

By: Nico Pennisi, WRTV

GREENTOWN — March is Bleeding Disorders Awareness Month.

The National Bleeding Disorders Foundation says it’s a time to let patients and families with hemophilia, von Willebrand disease, rare factor disorders, and more, share their lives, stories, struggles, and successes.

One of those families is the Pickett Family of Greentown, who’ve been dealing with the complications of hemophilia for years.

8-year-old Griffin Pickett is a sports guy.

Whether it’s playing Madden on a gaming console, or playing catch with a baseball.

“I like to play first [base]” Griffin said.

Griffin says his health stands in the way of him doing everything he wants to do.

“I get joint bleeds when I don’t have enough iron,” Griffin said. “I can’t play football. I can’t play hockey. I can’t play any of that.”

He suffers from two bleeding disorders: von Willebrand Disease, when blood doesn’t clot properly, and hemophilia A, when a person is deficient in factor VIII, a clotting protein.

Griffin as a baby.

The Pickett Family

Griffin is actually one of the estimated 60,000 people in Indiana living with a bleeding disorder, according to the Indiana Hemophilia and Thrombosis Center.

Specialist Dr. Angeli Rampersad says many patients are unaware of their condition.

“These are genetic disorders where there’s a change in your genes and it alters the way your platelet works, your clotting factors being made,” Dr. Rampersad said. “If you have a nose bleed or you have nose bleeds that always last more than ten minutes. You’re dealing with them for 45 minute duration that’s impacting your ability to go to work or go to school. That’s not normal. It needs to be looked at.”

A lot of bleeding disorders are genetically inherited.

Dr. Rampersad says one family member getting evaluated, can help others identify if something is wrong as well and get them under the care they need.

That was the case for the Picketts — mom Amy found out she also has hemophilia.

Dr. Rampersad said it’s important to know your status to prevent complications in the future.

“It also protects them from catastrophic type of bleeding, like when people have surgery and they are not well prepared with bleeding disorder products before their surgery, it can lead to bad complications,” Rampersad said.

Griffin says his journey with bleeding disorders has been tough.

Missing school, long doctor’s visits and constantly getting poked with needles.

“I do tutoring to catch up,” Griffin said.

But he’s not letting that stop him.

He spends his Friday Nights as water boy for the Eastern High School varsity football team.

Something that makes him feel like a part of the team.

“Keep fighting. Be brave.”

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