Meet Cale Ferrin: Rare Disease Patient and Creighton Blue Jays' #1 Fan
Published Online: Friday, Mar 17, 2017
Rhode Island 84, Creighton 72. There is always next year.
The Creighton Blue Jays are ranked 6th in the Midwest division of the NCAA Bracket. Their current odds of winning the championship are 25,000 – 1.
But if you asked Cale Ferrin which team is going to win, he will let you know. Its the Blue Jays.
Ten-year-old Cale is very familiar with being the underdog. Cale has Fanconi anemia, an ultra-rare blood disorder that has required him to have numerous hospital stays and operations. At last count (when he was 7 years old) he had endured over 100 hospital stays and 26 surgeries.
While the condition has left him unable to participate in a lot of sports, Cale’s positive attitude has grown on the Creighton basketball team and he regularly participates in Q & A sessions with the team on their youtube channel.
A few of those sessions are shown below.
Fanconi anemia is an autosomal recessive disease, which means both parents have to be carriers and their children will each have a 25% chance of having the condition. So far, up to 21 genes have been associated with Fanconi anemia.
Originally thought to be a blood disorder, it is now apparent that many organs are affected in these patients. Aplastic anemia is a common symptom in Fanconi anemia. Most patients will develop bone marrow failure and require stem cell transplants. Patients often have thumb and arm anomalies, kidney problems, gastrointestinal problems, skin discoloration, skeletal abnormalities and a host of other problems.
The biggest concern in these patients is the increased risk for acute myelogenous leukemia (AML) or myelodysplastic syndrome. Tumors of the head, neck, skin, gastrointestinal system, or genital tract are also common. According to the Fanconi Anemia Research Find, the average life expectancy in these patients is 33 years of age.
Today, Creighton begins there bid to win it all with their first game against 11th ranked Rhode Island Rams (4:30 pm, EST). And if you see forward Isaiah Zierden load an imaginary grocery cart after shooting a 3-pointer, know that he is sending a message to his BFF Cale.