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Family Of OK Toddler With Blood Disorder Raises Funds, Awareness

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Drake, a 2-year-old Oklahoma boy suffers from Hemophilia. Drake, a 2-year-old Oklahoma boy suffers from Hemophilia.
His family is raising funds and awareness for the disorder through an upcoming walk in OKC. His cousin, Charleigh, (center) is collecting pop tabs for the cause. His family is raising funds and awareness for the disorder through an upcoming walk in OKC. His cousin, Charleigh, (center) is collecting pop tabs for the cause.
Charleigh has collected tens of thousands of tabs, which are recycled to make needles, which is a weekly part of Drake's life. Charleigh has collected tens of thousands of tabs, which are recycled to make needles, which is a weekly part of Drake's life.
OKLAHOMA CITY -

Hemophilia is a rare bleeding disorder that affects about 200,000 Americans. The incurable condition is both rare and expensive to treat. The Stallings know this all too well.

The Oklahoma couple has two sons. Their youngest, Drake, has hemophilia. They discovered he had the disorder at birth when after they had him circumcised, he wouldn't stop bleeding.

"He is missing a protein in the blood," said Beth Stallings, Drake's mother.

Without the protein, his blood can't clot or bruise normally.

"He's two and he falls and he hits the ground dozens of times a day and you just kind of hold your breath for a second," Beth said.

That's because Drake's condition puts him at risk for internal bleeding. So, to replace that missing protein in his blood, his parents have to infuse it into his tiny vein once a week. Each dose cost $1,200.

"A, we're dealing with needles and B, dealing with 10 to 15 minutes of holding still," Beth said. "For a 2 year old, that's difficult."

Stallings said she knows they are fortunate, though, as it could be much worse.

"If there's a silver lining anywhere, he's not severe," she said. "Because when they are severe they need it every 24 to 48 hours."

This is why Stallings is telling her son's story and promoting the upcoming Hemophilia Walk in Oklahoma City, to bring awareness to the disorder and help raise money to fund more research and programs for families just like hers.

The goal this year is to raise $65,000 and have 500 walkers in attendance. The family has their own walking team, Team Drake, with a personal goal of $8,000 and 100 walkers. Drake's cousin Charleigh has chosen to save tabs to raise money for his team because the tabs are recycled to make needles.

"With the beauty of social media, it got on Facebook and now she is getting pop tabs sent in every week from people we do not even know," she said. "She has tens of thousands of tabs."

The Hemophilia walk is next Saturday, April 20 at South Lakes Park in Oklahoma City.

Find out more about the Hemophilia Walk!

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