A Marfan or related disorder diagnosis can be elusive for an athlete, particularly an athlete who does not display the typical cluster of characteristics.
“Make it through the door, Jamie. Make it through the door.” Those were my first thoughts as we were leaving the pediatric ophthalmologist appointment for my daughter, Callie (age 4), after her doctor mentioned that we should look into something we had never heard of before, Marfan syndrome. The door I was referring to was the front door to the building, the building I initially thought we were going into just to get our daughter some glasses. I needed fresh air immediately and for my daughter not to see me break down into tears.
On May 17, 2015, Alix McLean Jennings, of Madison, NJ, led Team Cassie in the Superhero Half-Marathon and Relay in Morristown, NJ, in honor of her daughter, Cassie, 8, who has Marfan syndrome. With her permission, we are sharing the letter of gratitude that she sent her many family members and friends who supported her in her effort to raise money for The Marfan Foundation.
The end of this year will mark 10 years since my world changed, 10 years since my parents scoured the internet trying to find anything about this new syndrome, 10 years since I was diagnosed with Loeys-Dietz syndrome. My parents found some of the information they were looking for on The Marfan Foundation’s website. Then, the following summer, they took my brother and me to a conference the Foundation was having in Philadelphia.
It’s hard to believe that it’s been less than eight months since Isaiah Austin, the former Baylor University basketball standout was diagnosed with Marfan syndrome and had to withdraw from the NBA draft. Soon after the diagnosis, Isaiah attended our annual family conference and met so many people from our Marfan syndrome and related disorders community. Since then, he has continued to raise awareness about Marfan syndrome through activities from coast-to-coast. All while he works to complete his undergraduate degree at Baylor. We recently had an opportunity to ask him some questions about his Marfan journey so far.