Bubble Boy and His Story in Combating the Disease

Severe Combined Immunodeficiency (SCID) is a type of inherited disorder occurring in groups that result in severe to fatal abnormalities in the immune system. This disease has also been commonly called “Bubble Boy”; it is a rare disorder among the newborn which disrupts the baby’s immune system.

It is said to be twice as common, with around 3 million cases as per the HealthDay News. Cases where the infants are sensitive to infectious diseases, they are placed in a sterile environment, enclosed in a see-through case (hence, the name “bubble”).

Unfortunately, five-month old Hoh Jun Gi (now, 10), was diagnosed with a severe ailment that rendered him disabled to fight infections. While his appearance is just like any other regular 10-year old, he also suffers from hearing aids. His mother, Leong Hong Yeok, proudly describes him as a happy boy but a lesser known fact is that he was called the “bubble boy” – earlier described for David Vetter suffering from a genetic defect who had to be contained within a germ-free plastic bubble before passing away in 1984.

Ten years ago, Jun Gi was the first person to have been saved by the Singapore Cord Blood Bank. He received a blood cord transplant when he was nine months, as a successful match was found.

His story made him the breaking news at the time, in 2006, but that hype has toned down in comparison today.

But he is a reminder to everybody today that ‘a successful cord transplant changed his life’.

In addition to immunodeficiency, he was also being treated for tuberculosis, leaving behind hearing issues. He had a cochlear implant in 2008 and he wears hearing aids in both his ears today.

Ms. Yeok says, “He knows he was in hospital before, but he does not have a clear picture of what happened.”

In the earlier years after his treatment, his eating regimen was devoid of raw foods and had to be kept in a strictly clean environment. But today, he can play outside without a fear of being attacked by those germs, which were his biggest enemies a few years ago. He continues to have regular checkups and takes his thyroid medication. Due to mild scoliosis, he performs core-strengthening exercises.

His dream is to become a scientist one day. “I like all forms of science, especially chemistry. I like to watch chemical reactions”, says Jun Ji.

Source: The Straits Times.

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