Tayaunna Jackson is a current senior studying Communication Sciences and Disorders as well as linguistics at Penn State. Her freshman year of college was when she was diagnosed with Von Willebrand disease. This disease is a genetic disorder caused by missing or defective Von Willebrand factor (VWF), which is a clotting protein within the blood.
When a person with this disease cuts themselves, a clot will not form and heal the body as fast as it would happen for a person without the disease. An extreme case would be if a person were to get in a car accident. Their body would struggle to help stop the bleeding which could lead to a loss of too much blood. Once a month, Tayaunna has to get an IV of Humate-P to maintain the disease. Humate-P is a human clotting factor from pooled human plasma. It works by increasing the amount of clotting factor VIII and von Willebrand factor in the blood.
“Most of the factor I receive comes from donated blood,” she said. “This is why I encourage people to donate blood if they can, to not only help me but the thousands upon thousands of people who are in need as well.” Despite her disease, Tayaunna is still able to participate in her favorite activities at Penn State. “This disease does not define me,” she said. ” It will never control my life.”