Relief for Union Co. firefighter battling illness

By: Mark Edwards Email
By: Mark Edwards Email

UNION COUNTY, Tenn. (WVLT) -- "Get to live three more months, I know for sure, you know."

Without the drug Vivaglobin, doctors say Nick Harrell doesn't stand a chance of fighting off infection. But what a difference three days can make.

"Relief, thank God."

That relief comes from drug manufacturer CSL Behring, which makes the high-end medicine Nick needs to stay alive. After 72-hours of calls, emails and faxes to Behring's corporate headquarters in Pennsylvania, a break last night.

"I mean it's like a whole new day, whole new ballgame."

Nick will receive a three-month supply of Vivaglobin at no cost, offering an immediate solution. Nick's Sister-in-Law took the call and spread the news.

"I just couldn't wait to call him and let him know it was approved for the next three-months. He's got that much longer," Ashley Harrell told WVLT.

"A big relief. Big relief. Words can't describe what it feels like. It's a bad feeling knowing that you can't help him," said Nick's Mother Barbara.

"Thank God you know I was just so tickled you know words can't describe you know just can't describe it," said a relieved Nick Harrell.

Northeast Union Fire Chief Gordon Sartain has been leading efforts to call attention to one of his volunteer's life-threatening situations.

"There's been a lot of response about this and we're you know, this is going to help a lot with him. I'm glad that we're getting there. Pharmaceutical company, I appreciate them doing what they're doing now and maybe we can get a permanent solution before long," Chief Sartain, said.

Nick still has a fight on his hands, but for this young man who wanted to be a firefighter to help others in his community, Nick's hoping his story might shine a light on those with nowhere else to turn...And the strength to keep moving forward.

"Thank God you know. maybe other people out there sick like me you know needs help. I wish that they would get help. I pray for them, you know, that they could get help."

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