Living with
Haemophilia



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Living with Haemophilia

Real Lives

Ben White

Ben White is a 17-year-old jumping at the chance to play basketball

"I'm usually the one pushing everyone else around," admits Ben White, aged 17 from Wiltshire. At 6' 4" tall it's easy to imagine he doesn't have any problems when he's out messing around with friends. But Ben's talking about his time on a basketball court.

He discovered the sport at 14 and in three years has not only found a game he loves but also made great progress in developing his skills and ability. He has captained his school team and is now a member of a local squad playing at county level in the England Basketball League and enjoying international tournaments.

His team-mates call him "Shaq" after Shaq O'Neal, the famous American who played for the legendary LA Lakers.

Ben, who has severe haemophilia and has always been on a regime of prophylaxis, admits he's had to battle with the risk of ankle injuries but this has not prevented him from taking up sports throughout his childhood and teenage years.

His ankle problems stem from the time he was born and spent much of his first 18 months in hospital after he developed an inhibitor which was successfully treated but meant he was a late walker.

He has managed his own injections three times a week since he was 10 and learnt to accept the hassle this can cause. "Sometimes it's difficult to get motivated but everyone has to cope with that feeling," he says.

"Five minutes doing a needle is nothing like an hour with a bad leg. Keep yourself fit and it's got to be better for later in life."

Ben's treatment is overseen by the adult centre at St Thomas' Hospital in London, which he visits twice a year and takes part in half-life studies every two or three years.

His ambition is to go on to play for a university team and become a basketball coach at national level, so he knows what he must do. "I've found a club that welcomes me and an osteopath to keep my ankles in order, so at last I can really push myself."