Monday, February 16, 2009

4.0 Cheerleader dying from Gardasil?

Warning: This is sad, but important.

FROM ABC: It's a drug that is supposed to help prevent the virus that causes cervical cancer, but one Wichita teen wants Gardasil pulled from the market because of what she says are dangerous side effects. 16 year old Gabi Swank and her mother are on a mission. They want the government to pull the popular Gardasil vaccine from the market. Gabi along with many other girls are dying.

Gabi's mother Shannon Schrag said, "We do have bad days, we do, we can't change what happened to Gabi" Her home is filled with support from friends and family, but the once four point oh cheerleader, so full of energy now is home bound she has seizures, swelling throughout her body and migraines she's suffered two mini strokes. She's surrounded by a dozen different medications as she tries to make it through each day. Last year 16 year old Gabi Swank and her mother Shannon decided the Gardasil vaccine was important.

The family has a history of cervical cancer. Gabi Swank said, "It was a preventative for when I do when i am married" Gardasil is the vaccine recommended for girls and young women ages 9-26 . It 's approved by the FDA for preventing the HPV virus that causes cervical cancer. But after the first shot, Gabi started feeling different. Schrag said, "Her muscles were sore, her joints were hurting, by the time she had the third shot last August. Schrag said, "It was Sept 12 of 08 and she collapsed we thought she was having a heart attack."

Doctors couldn't figure it out, but after months of testing, a Wichita neurologist diagnosed Gabi with Cerebral Vasculatis, a terminal disease, and he blames it on Gardasil complications. Swank said,"Oh, I'm sorry. Don't cry." Gabi's mom said, "I made the choice for her to get the shots, so I deal with the guilt." The FDA has received reports of 28 deaths in the U.S. from Gardasil, but it continues to find that the benefits of Gardasil outweigh the risks.

Gabi knows she's dying, but she is on a mission. Her mom said, "She looked at me with the most somber face and she said if I have to die to save other girls than I am prepared to do that." Swank said,"I want this drug off the market, I want it off the market."

A group called the National Vaccine Information Center is studying the side effects of Gardasil and is reporting to the FDA. The makers of Gardasil still maintain the drug is safe and are now hoping to vaccinate boys with it as well.

-NewsAnchorMom Jen


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