Alyssa Bowen appears to be an average 15-year-old on the outside, but inside, her body is fighting a civil war. Her immune system is hyperactive, creating antibodies to attack her own blood cells, platelets, white blood cells and tissues. Despite the extensive efforts of doctors and nurses, they have not been able to offer Alyssa an exact diagnosis.
Alyssa has been coming to Seattle Children’s Hospital from a very young age. She has had many hospitalizations and a variety medications and treatments to help her manage her puzzling condition and the pain associated with it.
“The doctors and nurses have become my extended family and my mentors,” said Alyssa. “It has been an unexpected miracle that I can receive the best treatment close to home. Seattle Children’s is my lifesaver and part of my future.”
Alyssa made the decision to offer her DNA to a study led by Dr. Anne Stevens, a rheumatologist in Seattle Children’s Center for Immunity and Immunotherapies, with the hope that one day her illness will have a name and a treatment will be developed to help regulate her autoimmune response.
Racing for research: Seattle Urban Trek
Today, for the first time, her blood counts are stable, she is taking accelerated courses at school and is a member of the tennis team. She will be participating in Seattle Urban Trek’s annual race on April 25 benefiting Seattle Children’s Research Institute. The 6- to 7-mile event is a team race that combines the attractions of downtown Seattle with treasure hunting, running, social media, problem solving and teamwork.
“Support for Seattle Children’s Research Institute brings lifesaving new ideas, treatments and cures for kids like me,” said Alyssa. “I’m very excited to be participating in the event and raising money for an organization so close to my heart.”