Meet Big Red
Keegan Lind, Age 19, from Akron, Ohio
Sidekicks: Parents, grandparents, little brother, Cooper, and many friends
When he’s not busy overcoming obstacles: Keegan is a freshman at The University of Akron where he’s majoring in business administration. He enjoys hanging out with friends, listening to music and following his favorite sports teams, especially the Cleveland Cavaliers.
Did you know fact: Keegan is a passionate photographer. He loves taking pictures of people and landscapes around the Akron area or wherever his travels take him.
Why Keegan is a #ACHero: At age 10, Keegan had the sudden onset of Stevens-Johnson syndrome, producing large, painful blisters in his esophagus and mouth. Now 19, Keegan appreciates the care he received during his hospital stay and is happy to share his experience with others as a hero at the Akron Children’s Hospital Akron Marathon National Interstate 8K & 1 mile race.
Keegan’s Story: It was a Monday when then 5th grader, Keegan Lind, woke up with a fever. He stayed home from school with flu-like symptoms and was given medicine to keep the fever down. On Thursday, he still had a fever and a large blister on the inside of his lip. Keegan’s mother took him to Akron Children’s Emergency Department where his parents learned Keegan had much more than a fever blister.
“We weren’t in the ER an hour and one of the physicians mentioned Stevens-Johnson syndrome,” said mom, Meredith Davis. “Doctors took him to get a chest X-ray to check for pneumonia and found a spot on his lung which confirmed their suspicion.”
Stevens-Johnson syndrome is a rare, serious disorder of the skin and mucous membranes. It’s usually due to a reaction to a medication or an infection and causes a painful red or purplish rash that spreads and blisters.
Keegan was diagnosed with walking pneumonia and Stevens-Johnson syndrome. Not soon after, Keegan’s eyes started getting red, the sores on his mouth grew in numbers and blisters were forming in his esophagus, making it difficult to swallow.
Since Stevens-Johnson syndrome can cause eye problems, blood infection or permanent skin damage, physicians from infectious disease, dermatology and ophthalmology monitored Keegan’s condition. Nurses gave him IV (intravenous) fluids and medication to get rid of the bacteria infection and fluid in his lungs
By Sunday, Keegan went from bad to worse. His cheeks were swollen with golf ball-sized blisters inside his mouth, on his hands and down his esophagus. He was struggling to talk and breathe.
He was rushed to the pediatric intensive care unit where physicians were going to intubate him (tracheotomy). They were concerned that his airway was compromised.
“This was probably the scariest moment…,” said Meredith. “The doctor said to his dad and I that since Stevens-Johnson attacks the mucous membranes, it’s possible it could attack his internal organs, even causing them to shut down.”
As Keegan was being wheeled to have the CT scan, he got quite upset and began to yell.
“I think the strain from yelling broke up or dislodged some of the blisters, as well as the mucus,” said Meredith. “The nurse put her fingers in his mouth and literally pulled out what appeared to be a large amount of mucus.”
With the mucus removed, Keegan was breathing easier and no longer needed surgery. He was put on a feeding tube because he was unable to eat and was given an antibiotic that immediately started to help his condition.
As part of his care, Keegan had to rinse his mouth with a medicated fluid and had gauze changes around his blisters to keep from getting an infection.
“There’s a lot I don’t remember about my stay which I think is kind of a blessing,” said Keegan. “I do remember the constant care I received from my family and the hospital…I saw Petie the Pony and the Doggie Brigade, received a blanket and stuffed animals from volunteers and got dozens of get well e-cards from people I didn’t even know.”
It took 2 weeks, but Keegan made a full recovery with only some scaring from the blisters around and inside his lips, mouth and digestive track.
“We were lucky for something so rare (Stevens-Johnson syndrome) to be identified right out of the box,” said Eric, Keegan’s dad. “We’re thankful to have such a great facility, staffed with so many great people, in our own backyard.”
Keegan is the featured hero selected by National Interstate, the presenting sponsor of the Akron Children’s Hospital Akron Marathon Race Series 8K & 1 mile race. Keegan will be joined by his family, including step mom Heather Lind, a senior employee relations specialist at National Interstate, at a Hero Zone near InfoCision Stadium to inspire and cheer on runners at the June 24 race.