Little Girl With CAPS Faces a Bright Future

Here’s a charming and ultimately optimistic little story about how a mother’s vigilance combined with the right doctors and hospitals can make a real difference in a child’s life—and how that difference can expand to help others.

Let's dive right in, shall we? Source: www.giphy.com
Let’s dive right in, shall we? Source: www.giphy.com

A few years back, Julie Cunningham was the proud mother of happy, healthy twin girls.

But she quickly realized that one of the girls, Kate, had a problem.

Like this kind of a problem? Sorry, this show is just SO GOOD. Source: www.giphy.com
Like the kind of a problem where she has crazy super powers?! Sorry, this show is just SO GOOD. Source: www.giphy.com

Whenever Julie brought her children in from simple outdoor walks, she noticed a rash on Kate’s exposed skin. When Kate was one year old, the rash was accompanied by a fever that only worsened throughout the day. Initially, doctors suggested everything from allergies to skin problems, but none of those explanations or their suggested remedies worked.

Ultimately, and after trying several specialists, Julie got a referral to an allergy and immunology specialist at San Diego’s Rady Children’s Hospital. Dr. Hal Hoffman examined Kate and was convinced she had CAPS. He suggested switching the little girl’s medication.

He wasn’t just throwing out a random guess: Dr. Hoffman has spent years studying the genetics of CAPS, and actually discovered the gene responsible for CAPS back in 2001.

His instinct in Kate’s case was correct: Within 48 hours of the medication change, her condition improved dramatically.

Further testing showed that Kate’s diagnosis was actually a one-two CAPS punch: The little girl has Muckle-Wells syndrome and FCAS.

Source: www.giphy.com
Yikes! Source: www.giphy.com

But with the proper medications and care, Kate has thrived. And because of her early diagnosis, she may dodge the bullet on long-term complications. But Julie knows other children and parents have not been as fortunate and are still struggling to find a diagnosis or treatment—for any number of rare diseases. So she got involved with both Global Genes and the Autoinflammatory Alliance, and is advocating for extensions to the Orphan Drug Act, which encourages the development of treatments for rare and orphan diseases.

Can't stop, won't stop. Source: www.giphy.com
Can’t stop, won’t stop. Look at that face!Source: www.giphy.com

While Julie does her part to build awareness, the Rady Children’s Hospital continues to do its part to blaze new trails in medicine.

They’ve opened the Rady Pediatric Genomics and Systems Medicine Institute to continue their work improving the diagnostics and treatment of children with rare diseases.

Here’s to their continued success in treating cases like Kate’s, and here’s to a healthy and happy childhood for Kate and every other child facing a rare diagnosis!

And to every kid escaped the Upside Down! Source: www.giphy.com
And to every kid who’s escaped the Upside Down! Source: www.giphy.com

Ronald Ledsen

Ronald Ledsen

After emigrating from his native Sweden, Ronald spent a stint in the Merchant Marines while trying to work out what he wanted to do with his life. He discovered a love of writing while helping a friend write anonymous Harry Potter fan-fiction online; he discovered meaning to his writing when he began journaling after an anxiety disorder diagnosis. Ronald is most relaxed when spending quiet time with his wife, two sons, and hyperactive cat.

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