|Teen To Graduate, Despite Fatal Disease|
|Wednesday, 09 June 2010 08:37|
A rare and life threatening medical disorder has kept a Portsmouth teen out of school and unable to walk for months, but Wednesday night he will walk the stage at his graduation. Wednesday night, families will be filing into the N-Telos pavilion in Portsmouth to celebrate the graduation of Churchland High School's class of 2010, and all they've accomplished over the past four years.
But what one student accomplished over the past four weeks might just leave them in awe. "I feel good that I'm still alive," said Jawuan Trotter, who was diagnosed with Scleroderma. While his Churchland classmates have been busy planning new lives, in January Jawuan Trotter was planning for his death.
"I was thinking of my own will in my head; it was a hard time," he said. It was almost unimaginable for the confident teen, who was voted homecoming prince. "We started to notice his hands became very thick and leather like," said Jawuan's mother Desiree Trotter.
His doctor diagnosed him with Scleroderma.
"We had never heard of it," his mother said. "We didn't know what it was, didn't know how to spell it, but she asked us not to look online, because Scleroderma is often deadly and rarely diagnosed in children.
"I think this may be the first patient we've had on our inpatient rehab unit," said Dr. Jean Shelton. She says Scleroderma is an auto-immune disorder; Jawuan's immune system is essentially attacking his own body. "In his case, [the disease] attacks the brain, the spinal chord, as well as the soft tissues, the hands and the arms and throughout the body," Shelton said.
It got so bad, Jawuan could not stand for more than five seconds.
"When I couldn't go to school anymore it was depressing, very depressing," said Jawuan. He started working with therapists at Children's Hospital of the King's Daughters in April. But come Wednesday, it'ill be worth it. "He's graduating with a 3.38 advanced honors diploma," said Desiree Trotter. "That's awesome."