Joe Burke: Growing up a sickly immediately raises the bar for any child going to school. Being born with Hemophilia Type-A severe, which means less than 1% of clotting factor in my body, I had no idea what was in store for me in the years ahead.
By age three I contracted both HIV and Hepatitis C from contaminated Hemophilia blood products from Cutter Pharmaceuticals in the mid 1980’s. Much like the stories of national news headlines of Ryan White and Ricky Ray, I too faced mountains of discrimination and bullying.
There were times my parent’s own care at home was questioned by the school board. Bruise, cripple, peg-leg, hop-a-long were just a few of the names fellow students gave. At one point, my entire right arm from shoulder to elbow was one massive bruise from the physical bullying.
But don’t be bullied into silence, and left to deal with this alone, and never allow yourself to be the victim. Accept no one’s definition of your life, thus do not be defined by what others say you are.