Phoenix Richey was living a happy and healthy life until things escalated toward the unexpected.
During a tumultuous 24 hour period, a strange allergic reaction spread along 65 percent of her body, making her appear as a burn victim. Blisters and swollen skin enveloped her torso.
The rare disorder is called Stevens-Johnson syndrome and it affects the skin, mucous membranes and eyes. It affects 1 to 2 people per million each year, and is more common in males than females. The skin typically regrows over three weeks but a full recovery could take a month. To learn more about SJS, click here.
SJS tends to be the result of a bad reaction to certain medicines but with Phoenix, the source is still unknown. After 40 days of pain, Phoenix is finally able to embrace her mother, Nicole.
Nicole has contributed toward her daughter’s speedy recovery by taking part in a transplant of her own stem cells to Phoenix.
For Nicole, it seemed like just yesterday when they were posing for a photo with the rest of the family, a photo she still has today. The following morning, Phoenix had woken up with a throat itch. After a doctor disregarded it as strep throat and prescribed medication, Phoenix woke up the following morning with her entire skin puffing up and a heated temperature.
She was taken to the ER where her skin rapidly began to change like a mutation. Nicole was told there was a chance Phoenix wouldn’t make it, as she was in critical condition and her skin began to slowly peel off.
She was finally airlifted to Children of Alabama Hospital in Birmingham and it was here where a dermatologist diagnosed Phoenix with SJS. They could now hone in on the syndrome and treat it.
She was yet again flown to another hospital, Shriners Hospital for Children, for a more thorough treatment. The hospital-hopping wouldn’t stop there. She ended up traveling to 3 more hospitals. According to the NY Post,
“At first, she swelled up so much, it looked like she’d been beaten,” said Nicole. “Visitors to the ward didn’t even recognize her. Then, her skin blistered and began to weep. She lost all her pigment, which we were told would be the longest thing to come back. She’ll watch old movies she’s already seen, so she can listen along and picture what’s happening.”
After endless treatment, Phoenix was finally discharged and healthy enough to return to school.