Through no fault of their own, most 9-year-olds take youth for granted. Go to school, play with friends, sleep, repeat.
Unless that youngster is Kile Britton. He is battle-tested and wise beyond his years after battling a number of ailments early in life. Now, Kile is gearing up to host his fourth annual blood drive in West Frankfort this Saturday.
Kile is anything but your typical pre-adolescent.
Last summer, you would have been most likely to find Kile on the baseball diamond, riding his bike, or running and swimming with friends. This energetic, baseball all-star did everything one would expect of a young boy enjoying his summer vacation.
However, not too long ago, the same kid who had the energy to make it through a busy day without a nap, used to require three or four of them just to make it to bedtime. His health was anything but ideal. It was unusually cruel and emotionally draining for all involved.
From the onset, Kile and his parents fought one ailment after another from pneumonia, RSV, staph infections and MRSA to various skin infections and severe eczema. His missed 100 days of kindergarten.
Activities many of us take for granted, such as walking, proved a painful and laborious task for Kile, whose legs often became cracked and bloody. Blisters covered his hands and feet.
His life revolved around numerous hospitalizations, spinal taps, biopsies and surgeries.
Finally, in an effort to find answers, his parents took him to the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases in Washington D.C. Doctors from various fields of specialties ran a battery of tests for one long week before a final diagnosis was made.
In the end, doctors concluded that Kile had Job's Syndrome, a rare immunodeficiency disorder that has only been confirmed in 300 patients in the world. In fact, the cause of Job's Syndrome were a mystery to doctors and scientists until 2007, when they discovered a specific genetic mutation that both overstimulates and understimulates the immune system, leading to harmful bacterial and fungal infections, to be the culprit.
In May of 2010, Kile's doctor suggested he begin intravenous immunoglobulin infusions hoping the antibody extracted from blood plasma would bind to Kile's T-cells and give his body the strength and power to fight off infection. Not only was his doctor right, but the effects of the treatment would soon change Kile's life.
Kile is currently on his 32nd blood infusion via a port in his chest. One treatment requires the blood of 1,000 donors. The rewards however, are priceless. His skin, now clear and vibrant, allows him to partake in the same activities he once only witnessed.
"God gives me strength because I have faith that one day I won't be sick anymore," said Kyle when asked where he draws his strength. "Stay strong and never give up," is his message to other kids dealing with life debilitating diseases or circumstances.
Page 2 of 2 - His mother, Beth Britton, couldn't be more proud of her brave son. "He never complains," said Beth. "He never asks "why me". He just smiles and says, "Don't worry mom. God has my back."
Kile, along with the American Red Cross will be hosting the blood drive Saturday, Feb. 4 from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. at the First Christian Church in West Frankfort.