msblood768-JohnMatthewclose-upJohn Matthew Davis
Canton, MS
Blue Rubber Bleb Nevus Syndrome

The AABB (formerly the American Association of Blood Banks) has estimated that 95 percent of the U.S. population will need blood at some point in their lives. For the most part it is safe to say that event will be a one-time incident. But there are those whose lives depend on regular blood transfusions: sickle cell patients, cancer patients, and those suffering from rare but life-threatening diseases like diamond-blackfan anemia and blue rubber bleb nevus syndrome.
John Matthew Davis looks like a typical 5 year old boy, but unlike most he is in a daily fight for his life. John Matthew has been diagnosed with blue rubber bleb nevus syndrome, a disease so rare that there have only been 150 cases of it reported throughout medical history. The syndrome causes venous malformations—big tumors throughout his body in which blood pools, robbing him of the blood he needs to survive and causing pain. While the tumors are non cancerous, they can still be deadly.
In addition to the larger tumors, smaller tumors form in his GI tract, intestines, stomach and colon. The hemorrhaging of these smaller tumors adds to the iron deficiency and intermittent abdominal pain, which he suffers from on a daily basis.
John Matthew has to fly to Children’s Hospital Boston at Harvard to have them surgically treated (surgical removal of the tumors is not possible). Many of these surgeries last for long hours.
Meanwhile, because his body cannot produce blood fast enough to replace what he is losing in the tumors, he requires regular blood transfusions which he receives at Blair E. Batson hospital in Jackson.
“I never thought –never in my wildest dreams—it would happen to my child,” Mandy Davis, John Matthew’s mother, said. “The need for blood didn’t hit me until it happened to my child.”
John Matthew is looking at a lifetime of surgeries and blood transfusions, but he hasn’t let his disorder keep him down. He may never participate in sports or even attend regular school due to surgeries and hospital stays for transfusions, but his winning smile and ready charm belie his potentially life-threatening illness. His indomitable spirit is an inspiration to his friends and family.
“Get out there and give blood,” his mother admonishes people. “It’s the easiest thing in the whole wide world to do to save a life.”

Categories: Patient Stories