Brian Ragaishis is a high school senior in New York City who was diagnosed with von Willebrand disease at age 8. About two years ago, he founded LiveSmart PlaySmart, an online community where kids with bleeding disorders can connect and share their day-to-day ups and downs.
A longtime soccer player, Ragaishis is passionate about young people being active and not limited by their condition. He’s worked carefully with his healthcare team to help ensure his safety on the soccer field. “I grew up playing soccer and doing all these activities,” he says. “When I got more involved in the community, I realized that a lot of other kids are being sheltered away from sports and physical activity. And I think that shouldn’t be the case. Obviously, your safety has to be ahead of everything else, but you shouldn’t keep yourself from doing the things that you enjoy. Maybe you’re limited in some ways. Like my doctor told me that I couldn’t head the ball when playing soccer. You have to find that compromise, a happy medium where you can do what you want to do but also stay within the limits and keep yourself safe.”
Read Ragaishis’ story and those of other young people with bleeding disorders at LiveSmart PlaySmart. And catch up with the LiveSmart PlaySmart community at instagram.com/livesmartplaysmart or facebook.com/liveplaysmart