Tim Jones here. And I’m one of the 1.7 million faces of hemochromatosis in the USA. I’m 50 years old, a jack of many trades, currently working in an engineering office doing design work, for building bridges, dams, warfs, trestles. I live in the Pacific Northwest with my wonderful wife, Pamela Love Jones. And I’m a new dad to an 18 month old girl, who is my pride and joy!
I don’t think I would be here for her if I was not diagnosed in time. I was diagnosed late 2012, ferritin (iron level) well over 1,200. I had suffered for years prior and told I was just getting old. I’d always been an athlete so I tried to brush it off. I had been a regular donor to the Red Cross and they would tell me my iron levels were high, but no one ever told me to get it checked out or what I had. Bouts with pneumonia, brain fog, weight gain, swollen liver, being accused of being an alcoholic, the list goes on and on. I was not in good shape and getting worse. In my late 20’s was the first time I started noticing a trend in my health, I would be well for awhile and then sick or lack energy. I went to doctors and they would tell me that they couldn’t find anything.
Now, with HH under control, I enjoy life again. I’ve gotten a second chance. Last year was the first year that I did not get very ill from a cold, influenza or bronchitis. As a lifelong athlete, I’ve started working out again and loving life like never before. I do Crossfit now. I am a Masters Athlete. I did what is called the Crossfit Open last year for the first time. Over 275,000 people signed up for this event, making it the largest individual sporting event in the world. Not wanting any others to go through what we went through, I want people to hear our story and drag this deadly, but treatable disease – if diagnosed in time – into the light.
Early diagnosis is the key. Spread the word, push your community for more awareness, universal screenings, iron tests back on the CBC panel, use of the donated blood to save the lives of others, and we’ll drag this nearly silent killer into the light and stop it in its tracks.
More info and action campaigns which you can donate to and get involved with at ironitout.org/support
ironitout.org wants to thank Tim for his heartfelt story and his generosity in sharing it for our PSA/noncommercial campaign to build awareness about iron overload.
Now it’s your turn. Worldwide, we’d love to hear your story, or the story of your family members, friends, co-workers. Make a video clip that starts, “My name is ______ and I’m one of the 1.7 million face affected by hemochromatosis!” Then tell the highlights of your story, it does not have to be polished. Just tell your story from the heart, then upload the video to youtube.com and send addition written info to firstname.lastname@example.org and like Tim’s story here, we’ll do the rest. Don’t know how to make a video? Ask a friend, family member adept at social media to shoot a short clip of you. Or just send a write up of your story and some images and we’ll put it together and add you to the campaign.We can always update and add to it so video can be added to a written and photo story.