Traveling east with a theater contract and hemophilia treatments

My oldest son takes another step toward achieving his onstage dreams

Joe MacDonald avatar

by Joe MacDonald |

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Last Friday started like any other day. I felt excited that I’d survived my first week back at work after an incredible vacation in Washington, D.C. I began to prepare a mental schedule to order my day. As I thought of the many things around the house that needed my attention, Julian, my oldest son, walked into the living room and calmly said, “Dad, please read this email I just received.”

Julian recently returned home to New Mexico from an important audition at the Southeastern Theatre Conference convention, held in Mobile, Alabama. Many reputable theater companies from the Southeast cast their shows there for their upcoming seasons. He’d hoped to audition successfully for shows and travel to whatever destination offered him a contract. He’d returned Sunday standing on pins and needles, hoping the world would soon call him an employed actor.

As my son handed me his phone, I knew something had sounded off. Instead of challenging him, I took the phone, read the email, and leaped out of my chair to hug him. He’d received an offer to perform with a contract for May through August in the Great Smoky Mountains in North Carolina. The area is beautiful and has relatively mild summer temperatures.

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Seeing my oldest son among his tribe fills me with joy

Of passion and preparations

Almost immediately, I asked him the usual questions that any family dealing with a bleeding disorder would ask. “Whom do you call for your medicine? Remember to pack your regular doses, plus a couple of extra doses to cover breakthrough bleeds.”

Another brief thought flashed through my head: “I bet no one else has to remind their adult children to remember the safety protocol to avoid a spontaneous bleed into a joint, stomach, or head.” Julian’s hemophilia still takes up real estate in my brain, even during a celebration.

I quickly refocused on Julian’s reaction to the good news. At first, he felt overwhelmed, but then relaxed into the excitement of being a paid professional actor. His dream continues to become reality. “Dad, I cannot believe this is happening,” he said. “Everything I ever wanted for a career is coming true.” I told him he’d worked hard for this moment and assured him that I believed he had the talent to succeed.

Julian is fortunate that he knew his passion for stage performing at an early age. Through his formative years, my son never doubted his love for singing and working with a children’s theater company at Broadway Off the Beltway Academy in Houston. Its artistic director and owner cast Julian in her shows throughout his elementary school years. Her ability to encourage and motivate the children proved amazing.

My heart soared with joy each time I saw Julian perform. I spotted in him the passion that drove me when I was his age. The only thing that separated us centered on our homes of origin. I didn’t receive the support I craved as a young child, so I lavished all the energy I could muster on my boy. I promised to never stand in his way as he continued to follow his dreams.

As Julian prepares to travel to North Carolina, he’s beginning to check what he’ll need to manage his bleeding disorder properly. He’ll review the amount of Hemlibra (emicizumab-KXWH) he must take, along with syringes, gauze, appropriate-sized needles, and his emergency medicine, NovoSeven RT (eptacog alfa [activated]), for any unexpected complications with internal bleeding. In case he needs other treatment while away from home, he’ll have a travel letter from his hematologist to explain his condition to airport security or other medical personnel.

Julian received six callback opportunities from his initial audition. He hopes to hear from more companies, especially those that might give him work into the fall. I stand close by, beaming with pride as my son takes one more step toward his continuing goal of being gainfully employed as an entertainer.

He knows what he needs to do to treat his hemophilia. I smile as Julian prepares to pack clothes, syringes, shoes, needles, socks, gauze, pants, Hemlibra, shirts, and NovoSeven. As a dad, I cannot have more pride in my son. He is “fearfully and wonderfully made” (Psalms 139:14 NIV).

Note: Hemophilia News Today is strictly a news and information website about the disease. It does not provide medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. This content is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of your physician or another qualified health provider with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition. Never disregard professional medical advice or delay in seeking it because of something you have read on this website. The opinions expressed in this column are not those of Hemophilia News Today or its parent company, BioNews, and are intended to spark discussion about issues pertaining to hemophilia.


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