What started with a fever ended with something unexpected. In 2011, Mason woke up with a low grade fever, a popsicle red tongue, and a sore throat. As the day moved on, Mason’s fever rose to 104 and his lymph nodes became enlarged to the size of a baseball. Acetaminophen and ibuprofen failed to bring his fever down. Mason needed to see a doctor immediately.
It was at the doctor’s office that Mason’s parents learned about Kawasaki’s Disease. While most people are aware of Kawasaki motor vehicles, most are not aware of the disease named after the doctor that first reported it in 1961, Tomisaku Kawasaki.
Kawasaki Disease (KD) is an illness that primarily affects young children. It is characterized by an inflammation of the blood vessels throughout the body. About 75 percent of patients are under five years old, but it can affect older children, babies and teenagers, as well.
Although the vast majority of patients who receive timely treatment recover completely, a small percentage develop heart problems. KD can cause abnormal changes in the coronary arteries and other areas of the heart. The most serious health threat is an aneurysm, which is a ballooning of the blood vessel wall.
KD is a mysterious illness. The precise cause is unknown. Researchers believe that some kind of infection, as yet undefined, or an unknown environmental factor may trigger the illness in individuals who have a genetic predisposition.
Kawasaki disease can only be diagnosed clinically. No specific laboratory test exists for this condition. It is difficult to establish the diagnosis, especially early in the course of the illness, and frequently children are not diagnosed until they have seen several health-care providers. Many other serious illnesses can cause similar symptoms, and must be considered in the differential diagnosis, including scarlet fever, toxic shock syndrome, juvenile idiopathic arthritis, and childhood mercury poisoning. Five days of fever and four of five diagnostic criteria must be met to establish the diagnosis.
Fortunately Mason’s primary care physician recognized the possibility and referred Mason to Akron Children’s immediately. Five days later at Akron Children’s Hospital, Mason at age 6 was diagnosed with Kawasaki’s disease and treatment began (intravenous immunoglobulin and aspirin). After two weeks in the hospital and two treatments, Mason returned home without a fever, but was still highly sensitive to touch, on a daily regime of baby aspirin, and restricted to low intensity activities.
In 2013, his aneurysms had diminished to acceptable ranges and he was cleared for normal activity. Mason is now 11 years old and has fully returned to playing the sports he loves (football, soccer, volleyball, and basketball).
If it wasn’t for Mason’s experience, Spike for Tykes might not exist. It was the care and support that the staff at Children’s Hospital gave not just Mason, but also his parents, that inspired his father to find a way to give back and say “Thank you”. Spike for Tykes is that way of giving back and syaing "Thank you".
Teams paired with Mason:
- Dublin Jerome
- St Charles
- Stow-Munroe Falls