This is Travis’ story: Travis was a bright, energetic, adventurous 4-year-old who loved making people laugh. His million-dollar smile rarely left his face. On a Friday night, just days after his 4th birthday, he spiked a high fever. Initially, a nurse friend thought it was the flu and advised children’s fever-reducing medicine. His fever dropped, but overnight, his breathing became rapid and shallow. His pediatrician was called early Saturday morning, she too thought it was just the flu, but suggested Urgent Care could test him for strep throat.
Urgent Care tested him for strep and type 1 diabetes. Both tests came back negative and Urgent Care also dismissed it as the flu, sending him home. Travis had never been more lethargic, he slept all morning and was difficult to rouse. He developed diarrhea. His mother noticed his skin was taking on a mottled appearance and attempted to take him to the hospital. He passed out as she buckled him into his car seat. 911 was called and a neighbor with medical training immediately began CPR until first responders arrived.
They rushed Travis to the closest hospital, where 45 minutes later, the doctor told his mother, grandmother, and family priest that they were unable to restart Travis’ heart. It was only during the autopsy that it was discovered Travis had a previously undiagnosed rare disease, Isolated Congenital Asplenia. Travis was born without a spleen, which compromised his immune system. He contracted a rare bacterial infection, and without his spleen, couldn’t fight the infection. He developed sepsis and was dead within 20 hours of first getting a fever. (Sepsis and Impaired Immune System, Sepsis and Bacterial Infections)
This is Allison’s story: As Travis’ mother, I was completely overwhelmed with grief over losing my only living child just 5 months after I lost my husband (Travis’ father) to cancer. I knew I had to do something to prevent other families from walking in my shoes. So, I founded T.E.A.M. 4 Travis (Together Ending Asplenia Mortality). It is a 501c3 nonprofit organization whose mission is prevent child death from Isolated Congenital Asplenia. Travis’ love of life is carried on in our quest to call awareness to this rare disease and develop a test to identify the absence of the spleen. We also believe in the importance of educating families on the signs of sepsis in children. It is our hope that if ICA can be identified at the beginning of life, parents can work with their child’s healthcare team to develop a treatment plan and be aware of the signs of sepsis, so they can avoid Travis’ tragic outcome.
Source: Allison D'Ambrosio Bones, Travis' Mother