Colin came down with a common cold. The doctor said the virus "would run it's course" and led Colin and his family to believe that everything would be all right. Colin rebounded like he and his brothers did in the past when they caught a cold. He was eating, drinking, playing, and was excited he would be going to school the next day, as the flu symptoms seemed to go away. The morning of school on Monday, symptoms came back, but he still ate, drank and played. He was acting his normal self; happy, playful and enjoying life like a 5 1/2 year old boy should! He tossed and turned Monday night while his mother slept with him to keep him comfortable. Tuesday his mom and dad took him to the hospital because he had chills and his lips seemed blue, and despite all heroic efforts of the Genesys Medical Center ER staff, within two hours from entering the emergency room, Colin passed to heaven in his father's arms and became our Angel. Colin has blessed everyone who knew him. Our lives on this earth, in this universe, are more complete than they ever would have been had Colin not been part of our lives. We have learned a great deal about happiness and sorrow, joy and anger, and many other emotions, through Colin's life and his death. Colin's spirit lives on with us all, every day... "forever and ever."
Viral myocarditis is rare, but seemingly becoming more common, and one of it's symptoms according to the Physicians desk reference and other reliable sources is "sudden death." The usual offending aggressive parvoviruses, adenoviruses and enteroviruses can not only damage heart muscle and tissue, but also other major organs. There is currently no vaccine to fight these aggressive viruses. These viruses can attack anyone, at any age, at any time. Much research has been done, but no medication has been approved by the FDA to treat these aggressive viruses. Positive strides have been made towards manufacturing a drug to fight these viruses, but there is more medical research which needs to be done. This medical research requires significant funding. Furthermore, awareness to the general public and the medical community is crucial, as viral myocarditis is not easily diagnosed by doctors without much experience dealing with this disease. As it is considered rare, many doctors may not have the proper knowledge to diagnose myocarditis before it is too late. Early diagnosis and treatment of myocarditis is crucial to saving lives.
Colin's Foundation is excited to be partnering with Dr. Jeffrey A. Towbin, MD. Dr. Towbin is now the Pediatric Cadiology Chief and co-director of the Heart Institute at Le Bonheur Children's Hospital at St. Jude's Children's Research Hospital, and chief of Pediatric Cardiliogy at the University of Tennesee Health Science Center in Memphis, TN. http://www.lebonheur.org/news-events/news/press-release-archive/2014-press-releases/jeffrey-a.-towbin,-md,-tapped-as-pediatric-cardiology-chief-.dot. He will be instituting his research laboratory at yet another medical institution to increase the diagnosis treatment and research of cardiomyopathies and other heart disease in children, partnering with St. Jude's Hospital. Dr. Towbin was formerly the Executive Co-Director of Heart Institute & Professor and Chief, Pediatric Cardiology at the Cincinnati Children’s Hospital Medical Center and Heart Institute. Prior to that, he was the Director of the Phoebe Willingham Muzzy Pediatric Molecular Cardiology Laboratory and the Pediatric Heart Transplant/Cardiomyopathy at the Texas Children's Hospital in Houston, Texas. He was also the Foundation Chair in Pediatric Cardiac Research at the Texas Heart Institute and Professor of Pediatrics (Cardiology), Molecular & Human Genetics and Cardiovascular Sciences. His clinical interests are diagnostic and therapeutic advances for cardiomyopathies and heart failure, aarrhythmias and heart transplantation and cardiovascular genetics. His major areas of interest focus on myocarditis, cardiomyopathies, and other causes of sudden cardiac death and congenital heart disease in children. Dr Towbin has been growing his research laboratories throughout the United States. Please visit this link to find out more about his work, his research and for more information about how to diagnose myocarditis in its early stages. http://www.cincinnatichildrens.org/about/news/release/2008/jeffrey-towbin-codirector-heart-institute-12-09-08.htm.
We are proud to announce that Colin's Angels has also been partnering with the Genesys Learning Institute, featuring Dr. Towbin's live presentations in 2009 and 2010 at Genesys Medical Center in Grand Blanc, MI as part of Colin's Foundation's awareness campaign. The seminars focused on providing awareness and education to the medical community to assist in diagnosing and treating viral myocarditis. The lectures were titled "Myocarditis in Children" & "Myocarditis In Children, 2010 Update" and health professionals can earn continuing medical education credits for their attendance of this presentation. Dr. Towbin has also presented myocarditis awarenss information at the 2009 & 2010 golf outings. Since these presentations at Genesys, Genesys has created a new specialized and advanced cardiology unit that did not exist there at the time of Colin's passing. We hope we helped them become aware of this need in our local community. Genesys Medical Center has developed a Heart Institute, something they did not have prior to Dr Towbin's presentations. We hope our awareness has helped Genesys Medical Center develop this Heart Institute.
With proceeds raised from our fundraisers, Colin's Angels have donated over $50,000.00 to support Dr. Towbin's research and over $16,000.00 to Colin's Elementary school to fund their Literacy Project for K-2nd grade and Field Day for both Cook and Mason Elementary Schools in Grand Blanc, Michigan. Every year, the Colin Dembo Literacy Project Author's Tea is held at Cook Elementary. This is always an awesome event as the children are so proud to show off their creative writing books, their original stories they write and illustrate themselves, to their parents and teachers. Please click on this link to your browser to read a news article about the Colin Dembo Literacy Project Author's Tea. http://www.mlive.com/news/flint/index.ssf/2012/06/cook_elementary_students_celeb.html
Here is a Youtube video from Cincinnatti Children's explaining a new treatment for viral myocarditis upon its diagnosis. We are happy to share this video of this new treatment and to show that progress is being made to give children a new quality of life from this deadly illness. Early diagnosis and proper treatment is the key! Viral Myocarditis treatment Also here is a report of accomplishments from CCHMC & HI 2008 through 2013 http://www.cincinnatichildrens.org/service/h/heart-institute/accomplishment-report/ showing important improvements from research, clinical programs and more since 2008, which coincidentally is when Colin's Angels began its financial support of Dr Jeffrey Towbin & CCHMC & HI.
Here are some links for more information on viral myocarditis and Colin's Angels.
Myocarditis-Cardiac risk in the young Myocarditis From Causes to Follow-up
Here is a similar story to Colin's; Cincinnatti Children's were able to diagnose and treat 8 year old girl and save her life. Cincinnati Children's Medical Center and Heart Institute diagnoses and successfully treats 8 year old girl
Here is a link to a news story about Colin, the Foundation and First Annual Colin's Angels Charity Golf Outing:
(if the story does not come up right away, go to the search box in the upper right corner of the Flint Journal's site and type in Colin Dembo and the story will come up).