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My name is Aaron Smith. I am here tonight with my wife Brantley and two boys, Grady, who just turned three, and Logan, age one.

We found out this past July that our son Logan has severe Hemophilia A. We have no known family history but we knew something wasn’t quite right from the beginning; it took forever for his circumcision to heal, frequent bruising in weird places, and a couple mouth bleeds. After the second or third mouth bleed, our pediatrician ordered bloodwork. We were terrified. I drove down to the hospital lab immediately and tried not to be overwhelmed by the thought of taking my baby to the Children’s Hospital. My heart sank, and I tried not to make eye contact with the dreaded “Hematology/ Oncology” sign over the door across from the lab. We waited for results for over a week and got more tests. We then waited for those results another week, and got more tests. After the third round of tests and what seemed like forever, we were scheduled for a consultation and I never thought I would be happy to hear the word “treatable”. Within a few weeks of our consultation, Sue Martin gave me a call and I talked with her for the second longest phone call I’ve ever had, I think it was 42 minutes or something like that. I felt an instant connection. She had similar experiences with her children and could relate to everything we went through. She said there are others that have similar stories and described what HSC has to offer.

In a time where we felt alone, worried, and desperate for answers, trying to avoid Google searches of God knows what, there was HSC. HSC has provided support by connecting us with others in similar situations, provided education and resources. More than anything, it is comforting just knowing that there are people that have our back in our new family.

This summer we were able to attend the “Keeping It Coastal” Family Camp and learned from some of the nation’s best resources. The Turkey Trot fundraiser really allowed our friends and family to show their support as well as bring awareness. It was really overwhelming to see how people are willing to help and genuinely care about others.

It is my hope that our family’s involvement in the chapter can provide others the same welcoming that we had into our new Hemo Family. I have wondered what the silver lining is with all of our new challenges and I really feel it is everyone in this room, our chapter, and the whole bleeding disorder community.