Thank you to Mark Hunter for the article in today’s Sports section (Whitelaw Keeping Cool Ahead Of Big Game, The Daily News, Oct. 5).
Our local athletes and athletic organizations (like the Kamloops Broncos football team) are very lucky to have such great coverage and support!
I thought this would be a good time to spread awareness about a life-threatening illness, Lemierre’s syndrome (or disease) that Connor Whitelaw briefly mentioned in his interview. I am Connor’s mother.
Lemierre’s syndrome is a life-threatening bacterial infection (non-contagious)that often disguises itself as what appears to be strep throat or mono.
Connor became ill exactly one year ago while he was a student athlete at Simon Fraser University with what appeared to be strep throat.
Five days later, he was in hospital in Vancouver with severe septicemia and pneumonia, placed into induced coma and put on a ventilator for seven days.
It took the medical team at Lyon’s Gate Hospital several days to accurately diagnose Connor’s condition. While Lemierre’s is treatable with the right antibiotics, diagnosis is key and timing is critical as the body can shut down fast.
Most doctors have never heard of Lemierre’s, it is known as “the forgotten illness.” It seems to strike young and healthy teens and adults most often. Early symptoms include severe sore throat (often described as the worst ever), extreme lethargy, extremely high fever, extreme shakes and stiffness, vomiting and diarrhea, loss of appetite and unquenchable thirst.
In many cases the patient is too ill to properly articulate his or her symptoms which can further delay treatment.
Connor is fortunate to not only have survived without permanent damage to his major organs, he is lucky to be alive.
I urge everyone to educate themselves about Lemierre’s. While we have been told it is rare, I have met several people within the last year who are either survivors or have lost a loved one to Lemierre’s.
There are many articles online that provide solid information, but the simplest explanation of what it is can be found in this six-minute YouTube clip: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ueUwiUL39hU. Last Thanksgiving we spent in the ICU. This Thanksgiving, we are truly thankful.