Jackson, MO boy receives life-saving medication from blood donat - KFVS12 News & Weather Cape Girardeau, Carbondale, Poplar Bluff

Jackson, MO boy receives life-saving medication from blood donations

Devyn receiving treatment. (Source: KFVS) Devyn receiving treatment. (Source: KFVS)
JACKSON, MO (KFVS) -

You may know one blood donor can save the lives of three people - so we put a face and name to the statistic.

Devyn Haupt, 10, lives in Jackson, Missouri - and he likely wouldn’t be alive if it weren’t for blood donors.

In many ways, Devyn is like most 5th graders.

“I like the special subjects like P.E., I’m good at reading," said Devyn. "I’m not very good at math. Sometimes I like social studies, sometimes I don’t.”

He loves being with friends and playing baseball.

“Cardinals. [My favorite player] would have to be Yadi," Devyn told Heartland News.

But there’s one way he is very unique.

“My lungs don’t work like everybody else does.”

When Devyn was a toddler, he was constantly getting sick.

“He had had repeats like pneumonia, bronchitis type infections," said his mother Kim Haupt.

Devyn was in and out of the hospital, but doctors always told his mother that it was from being around other kids, just typical colds. It wasn’t until Devyn spiked a high fever and had a febrile seizure that doctors thought it might be something more serious.

“And then eventually we got sent to Cape and he was admitted here," Kim said. "I think that stay we were in (the hospital) for 12-14 days. His white count was almost 30 and he ended up having 2 febrile seizures with that infection and then after that for 2 years he seemed to get pneumonia every month and hospitalize him for 5-7 days and end up on oxygen.”

But a diagnosis didn’t come easy.

“All his basic functions of his immune system, 5 key components, one of those wasn’t making enough to fight infections. No gamma globulin. It took a year to get diagnosis. Get initial panel. Check panel every few months.”

Dr. Alan Knutsen is division direction of allergy/immunology at Cardinal Glennon and treats Devyn.

“We call it specific antibody deficiency which means he’s not making antibody to fight the bacteria that cause respiratory infections," said Dr. Knutsen.

“So for him a typical vaccine only lasts maybe 6 months whereas [for] most people it lasts up to 10 years," Kim said.

Devyn has been getting treatment for three years now.

“Replacing those antibodies in the form of IV gamma globulin," said Dr. Knutsen.

But gamma globulin can’t be made in a lab - it has to come from blood donors, and it takes a lot to make just a little.

“When they do the blood donation they strip the white, red blood cells and plasma apart. He gets plasma. It takes between 5,000-10,000 donations to make one bottle of medication. He gets a bottle and a half a month. Kids up there get 6-8 bottles a month," said his mother Kim.

As Devyn simply states, “it keeps me from getting sick.”

And for his mom, it gives her the son she could have lost.

“If he didn’t have treatment he probably wouldn’t be with us right now," she said. "After the initial infection his lungs were inflamed, which causes pressure on heart, he was hallucinating, having seizures. He would not be the kid he is today by any means.”

Which is why she’s thankful for every donor who keeps Devyn swinging.

“Now that he’s had the treatment he’s playing baseball all summer, every summer. He runs track club, martial arts, does choir. A very active kid, keeps us on our toes," she said with a smile.

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