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Three Dad Stories

Every father plays his part a little differently. We checked in with a patient, a rare disease researcher and a CSL Behring leader.

CSL Behring patient advocate Jesse Schrader.

Hemophilia patient Jesse Schrader: What I love about being a father

Jesse Schrader has hemophilia, but he’s also a former college baseball pitcher, so the theme of family life is activity. He plans to celebrate Father’s Day by golfing with his own dad and siblings and also canoeing with daughters 12-year-old Alexis and 10-year-old Addison.

“My dad put so much time in with me playing sports and taught me so much about staying positive and working hard,” Schrader said.

Schrader is a longtime volunteer at CSL Behring’s Gettin’ In the Game Junior National Championship, a weekend of education, swimming, golf and baseball for kids with bleeding disorders. Now that he has kids of his own, Schrader says he’s happy to do whatever the girls want to do – from playing team sports, to video games, to just kicking the soccer ball around. He said he’s particularly proud of his daughters when they work hard to achieve something, like getting good grades in school.

“Being a dad is one of the greatest things in life – always teaching and guiding them to make sure they have the tools in life to be successful,” he said. “I try and tell them there will always be challenges and obstacles in life, but you can overcome them if you work hard and follow your passion.”

Dr. David Fajgenbaum wife and daughter

Doctor and researcher David Fajgenbaum: Being a dad motivates me to help children with rare diseases.

As a person with a rare disease, Dr. David Fajgenbaum has natural empathy for people with rare illnesses. Almost two years ago, when he became a father for the first time, he gained a new level of insight.

“Because I am a father, I know what’s it’s like to have the love of a parent for a child, which motivates me to keep working to help children with rare diseases,” he said.

Dr. Fajgenbaum and his wife Caitlin welcomed their daughter Amelia into the world 22 months ago. She is a healthy, active toddler “who changed our entire world.” He was diagnosed with Castleman Disease, a rare disease of the lymph nodes and related tissues, during his third year in medical school and was near death several times before he developed his own therapy.

Fajgenbaum co-founded and directs the Castleman Disease Collaborative Network (CDCN) at the University of Pennsylvania, where he leads research into the disease. He also wrote a book about his own dramatic health story called Chasing the Cure.

“Many of the patients we are devoted to helping are children,” Dr. Fajgenbaum said. “As a doctor and someone who has Castleman Disease, I can relate to what they are going through. As a father, I can understand the love and concern of their parents because our children truly are everything to us.”

John Neff and son Alex take a selfie while donating plasma.

CSL Behring’s John Neff: Like father, like son

American inventor and innovator Charles Kettering once said, “Every father should remember one day his son will follow his example, not his advice.” That quote goes well with the photo above of CSL Behring’s Associate General Counsel for North America John Neff and son Alex.

The two recently donated plasma together, responding to the need for plasma donations for life-saving medications CSL Behring develops and delivers for patients. Well done and happy Father’s Day to all dads everywhere!