Fathers and their little girls often share a special bond. For Geoff Miller and his daughter, Samantha, that bond also includes sharing the same rare blood disorder.
When Geoff was a newborn, his parents discovered he had factor 9 deficiency, also known as hemophilia B, an inherited bleeding disorder predominantly affecting males. A northeast Ohio native, he received care at Akron Children’s Hospital until he reached young adulthood.
“We were always told that Geoff could not pass the disease to his children, but that his daughters could be carriers,” said Geoff’s wife, Mindy.
When Samantha was first learning to walk, she had her share of stumbles and falls. But one day when she fell and bumped her mouth, the bleeding from her gums wouldn’t stop.
The Millers took her to Akron Children’s ER, where testing confirmed she had the same bleeding disorder as her dad. Samantha was 17 months old.
She was referred to Akron Children’s Showers Family Center for Childhood Cancer and Blood Disorders, where she’s under the care of pediatric hematologist-oncologist Jeffrey Hord. She also receives care from certified nurse practitioner Elizabeth Miller – the same nurse who cared for Geoff.
“Liz has always been a great resource for us and has helped alleviate any fear, especially when Samantha was first diagnosed,” said Mindy.
Because her condition is mild, Samantha usually just needs an annual check-up in the Showers center.
However, a mild injury can quickly turn serious, so Mindy and Geoff try to strike a balance between letting Samantha have fun without getting hurt, such as making sure she wears a bike helmet. It’s also important she receive good oral care so she doesn’t have any dental complications.
Otherwise, she’s a typical little girl who attends preschool, loves her 2 cats and is currently in what Mindy calls her “princess phase,” which includes dressing up in princess heels and wearing lots of pink.
The Miller family also includes Jane and baby Trey.
Jane and Samantha are the best of friends and are often immersed in an imaginary world where princesses reign supreme. But in any kingdom, they’ll always hold the keys to Daddy’s heart.
As part of our year-long anniversary celebration, we’ll be telling the story of Akron Children’s through the eyes of past and present employees, doctors, donors, volunteers and patient families. We encourage you to share your own memories and stories about us.