Rare Disease Report

Carolina Panthers' Coach Tells Aplastic Anemia Teen to Keep Pounding

MAY 30, 2017
James Radke
15-year-old Gabriel Gillooly lives and breathes Carolina Panthers football.
As both a lifelong resident of the First in Flight state and a severe aplastic anemia patient, it’s the Panthers’ slogan “Keep Pounding” that keeps him going. To no one’s surprise, Gabriel was thrilled to receive a care package from the Carolina Panthers on his birthday, including a personalized letter from the team addressing his medical issues.
Severe aplastic anemia is a serious blood disorder where the bone marrow fails to make enough blood cells. It’s often treated with immunosuppressive drug regimens or allogeneic stem cell transplantation, similar to the therapies used for rare blood cancers. For patients who do not respond to those treatments, Promacta (eltrombopag) may be beneficial.

Regardless of the treatment being used, the condition and its management can be taxing on the body. Like any good Panther fan, though, Gabriel knows that he has to keep pounding, and Panthers head coach Ron Rivera was sure to remind him of that.

The letter penned by Rivera read:
Dear Gabriel,
The Carolina Panthers heard that you were a HUGE fan, and we would like to thank you for your support of our team. We cannot tell you how much your support means to our players, coaches, and staff. We’ve also been told that you are facing some very difficult challenges. Please know that we are all cheering for you.
The motto “Keep Pounding” is very special to the Carolina Panthers organization. The phrase originated from a locker room speech given by Panthers Coach (and former linebacker) Sam Mills prior to a very important playoff game versus the Dallas Cowboys in 2003. In his address to the team, Mills spoke of overcoming his own life challenges:
“Remember that life is a journey, filled with many different obstacles, some easy and some very difficult. No matter what you are facing, never give up.. just ‘Keep Pounding!’”
Remember that life is a journey, filled with many different obstacles, some easy and some very difficult. No matter what obstacle you are facing, never give up.
Best Wishes,
Ron Rivera
Head Coach
Carolina Panthers
To learn more about Gabriel’s Journey, click here.

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