Growing up with hemophilia, Andy Matthews was lucky enough to live across the street from a hematologist. The doctor told his parents the best thing they could do for Andy was give him cryoprecipitate treatments at home. Cryoprecipitate was an early version of today’s factor treatments, using human plasma to treat clotting disorders.
Andy was one of the first people in the country to manage hemophilia by injecting cryoprecipitate at home. He was even able to receive the expensive treatment for free as a result of regular blood donations from a local Navy squadron.
Like many hemophilia patients of his era, Andy eventually contracted the Hepatitis C and HIV viruses. “It hit me for a while,” he says of his HIV diagnosis, “but after a while I just said ‘Hey, this is what God gave me, I’m supposed to deal with it.'”
Andy views his hemophilia as “the greatest gift ever given.” He says it has given him strength, experiences, and an invaluable network of friends. He had to draw on all of these gifts when his daughter was diagnosed with Down syndrome, and again when she passed away at six months old.
“You don’t know what lot you’re going to be dealt in life,” Andy says, “so consider hemophilia a training ground.”
Andy’s Voices videos:
Advocacy Issues, Andy Mathews
Given a Gift, Andy Matthews