Champion Athlete: Joe Berti
Champion High School Team: Cedar Park Band
Drew began his life with a short stay in the NICU where he was treated for a low oxygen rate and a staph infection. While his parents were joyous that the stay was short, it was just the beginning of the many doctor trips he would have in his life. At five months he had his first set of ear tubes and by the age of two he averaged once-a-week doctor visits for constant treatment of infections. Without continual antibiotics, Drew fought against numerous episodes of bronchitis and pneumonia along with multiple sinus and ear infections. He was repeatedly vaccinated due to inability of his body to hold the vaccines. Drew’s likely diagnosis is Common Variable Disease. The typical undiagnosed condition takes an average of 7.6 years, 8 physicians, and 2-3 misdiagnoses to correctly identify a patient’s condition.
At the age of 2 1/2, he was referred to an infectious disease specialist. In an effort to reduce the amount of antibiotic use, they recommended trying IVIG once a month for six to twelve months. The good news is, the treatments strengthened his immune system, but the bad news is, that eight years and four ports later, the infusions still continue. Currently, he takes countless preventative pills, sees a multitude of doctors, battles with fatigue, and is unable to eat gluten. Due to the numerous antibiotic used in his life, he has many severe allergies which makes it more difficult to treat him when he has a minor infection.
Although Drew faces many challenges, he works hard to maintain a normal life and is now an award-winning gymnast. In addition, he is a proud new honorary member of the Cedar Park Timberwolves Band.