First Posted: 4/11/2013
Kristy DeRome was three months old when she was diagnosed with thalassemia, a rare blood disorder. The news was devastating to her parents, Furry and Mary DeRome, of Hughestown. The doctors told them not to expect their baby to live past her teens.
Though it’s been a rough go, that 3-month-old beat the odds. Today, she is 35-year-old Kristy DeRome Gomberg and she is organizing a Care Walk to benefit Cooley’s Anemia Foundation, an organization with a mission to advance the treatment and cure for thalassemia, considered a fatal blood disease.
The Care Walk is scheduled for 10 a.m. on Sunday, May 5 at Robert Yaple Park in Hughestown. Refreshments and snacks will be available. Gift baskets raffles are part of the event. To sponsor a team or donate gift certificates, food or raffle baskets, call Kristy at 510-2489. All money raised will go directly to Cooley’s Anemia Foundation.
In an email, DeRome wrote, “A few steps on May 5 can mean a whole new future for children born with thalassemia. With your help, we can expand research so that children and adults with thalassemia will no longer require lifelong blood transfusions every two-four weeks,will no longer suffer the deadly destruction of their organs and will no longer face a life span far shorter than their friends and siblings.”
DeRome has been fighting the effects of thalassemia for 35 years. She goes to The Children’s Hospital Of Philadelphia for regular blood transfusions. The blood transfusions, as they do for all patients, build up an iron overload in her vital organs and she has to be hooked up to an infusion pump 12 hours a night to remove the iron. She takes numerous medications and has severe osteoporosis issues. She has no spleen and can’t fight infections. Though the blood transfusions have caused Lyme disease and babeseosis (a malaria-like disease), she needs them to survive. As it is with all thalassemia patients, the transfusions are a chance she has to take.
No wonder she calls her team Kristy’s Thalassemia Warriors.
Despite it all, Derome is a fighter and an optimist. “It can always be worse,” she said.