Student not held back by rare disorder


Photo courtesy of Kelli Ongman

Hailey Garofalo is a trapeze artist because it distracts her from the struggles involved with her illness. Due to her disorder, she can’t eat foods.

Lauren Tomita, Staff Writer

Thanksgiving is a holiday full of foods that people love to eat, but one student at Faith Lutheran Middle School can’t partake in any of the traditional culinary delights. Current sixth grade student Hailey Garofalo lives with an eosinophilic medical disorder which prevents her from eating most foods.

“I can’t eat because my body basically attacks itself when I eat,” said Hailey.

Although rare, eosinophil-associated disorders have become a health problem around the world. The condition includes having an abnormally high number of eosinophils in the body. Eosinophils release a variety of toxins when they reach an area that reacts to an allergy. This type of white blood cell normally makes up less than 5% of the total white blood cell count. According to APFED (American Partnership for Eosinophilic Disorders), when too many eosinophils exist in the body, they could potentially cause tissue damage in that area and critically harm the individual.

Hailey lives with eosinophilic disorder everyday. She struggles to get through the pains and difficulties involved with the disorder.

“Whenever I eat something or come into contact with something I’m allergic to, my body basically attacks itself, and I’m in pain,” said Hailey.

Sometimes, it’s hard for her to see people do activities that she can not participate in.

“Watching everybody eat is hard sometimes,” said Hailey.

Hailey carries a feeding tube which provides her with the resources she can use.

“It feeds me through the pump since I can’t eat,” said Hailey.

Although she struggles to live with eosinophilic disorder, she finds ways to overcome it. She participates in athletic activities to get her through difficult events in her day.

“Trapeze helps me because it’s something that I love to do, and it gets me excited and it kind of distracts me from everything that’s going on,” said Hailey.

Hailey never approaches a bad day with a poor attitude, but she makes the most out of everything she does.

“I would just say that things could always be worse, and I’m fortunate to have everything that I have,” said Hailey.

Hailey has the tendency to stay positive, even in challenging situations.

“I know that God has a plan for me,” said Hailey.

Hailey’s determination and positive attitude have inspired others. Specifically, she inspires her current teacher, Mrs. Ongman.

“Out of everyone I ever met, she had the most to complain about, but she never complains. She is strong and she makes the most out of the talents and abilities that God has given her,” said Ongman.

Hailey not only inspires her teacher, but she inspires her siblings as well.

“She’s kind. She always makes me try my hardest on things,” said Hailey’s brother, Andrew Garofalo, who is also a Faith Lutheran sixth grader.

Hailey and Andrew’s brother, Payton Garofalo holds her in high esteem.

“She is creative, funny, and not negative,” said Payton.

Hailey lives with eosinophilic disorder, but she doesn’t let it hold her back. Her determination, positive attitude, and her actions have inspired others around her.

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