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Tiny, Triumphant TB Survivor

Who would of thought I’d be an advocate for childhood TB? I’m Kristine East and my son Jackson survived TB. He was diagnosed at 2 1/2 months old after being seen time and time again by different doctors and ER visits. With it being in his brain and in his lungs, chances were slim for survival. I was given his rigorous medicine regimen which consisted of me physically crushing up pills. Times were hard. Sleepless nights, endless syringes of INH consumed our lives. After 18+ months of treatment, “Jack” is now a healthy and happy 2 year old. We’re “blessed” because the doctors warned that his development may be delayed due to his age and medicine intake. But, he’s fine! No learning disability, no vision loss or motor skill set-backs. We now travel the country telling his story. Last year Dr. Jeffery Starke whom helped save his life, nominated me for Advisory Council for the Elimination of TB. Starting on July 1st of this year I will serve as a TB Advocate. I am proud and honored for this new position, however I feel I don’t fully deserve this opportunity because I’m still new to the TB advocate world. I plan on learning everything and broadening my knowledge about TB and how to eliminate it. Along my new found journey I’ve had the pleasure of meeting some advocates who have set a great example. They have adopted me as a fellow survivor and showcase how to use your story as empowerment. I would like to thank Kate O’Brien for introducing me to WeAreTB advocacy group and opening the doors for more opportunities to let our story be heard and possibly helping uplift someone else.

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