By Dan Wing
PHILADELPHIA (CBS) – Sunday’s Eagles’ game was definitely a memorable one for all fans, but for one New Jersey man who was diagnosed with a rare, and sometimes deadly disease last year, it was a little extra special.
29-year old Erik Majusiak married his wife Amanda in September of 2011, but it was what happened just four months later that changed their lives forever. He was hospitalized with intense pain, and trouble breathing.
“Put me on an ECMO Machine, which is almost an artificial lung, and diagnosed me with HLH. I was unconscious at this point for a few weeks,” Majusiak explains.
After it was over, things were different:
“I was wheelchair bound, to learning how to walk with a walker and moving on,” Majusiak tells KYW Newsradio. “Now today, I can keep up with every hobby that I ever had.”
So what is HLH?
“It’s an autoimmune disease where your immune system and white blood cells attack your entire body. Not just little parts of your body, they begin to attack everything,” says Majusiak.
It can be deadly if not diagnosed early. Majusiak was also diagnosed with Stills Disease, which is similar to rheumatoid arthritis.
Sunday’s Eagles’ game was a bucket list item – to attend his first football game, and the team, he says, didn’t disappoint:
“We were enjoying the weather, and enjoying it, but, you know, it was dreary and it turned around, and it was just the power. The whole stadium was a powerhouse. Oh, that was just a game to remember forever.”
Majusiak and his wife now work to raise awareness of HLH, and help direct people to resources that can help through their website.