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Reform Magazine | May 18, 2024

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I am... a haemophiliac - Reform Magazine

I am… a haemophiliac

Olly Black on living with haemophilia

I kept getting bruises all over when I was six months old. My dad’s mum thought my mum and dad were beating me. They took me for tests, and found out I had genetic disorder called haemophilia. It makes me bleed more than usual.

At junior school, I wasn’t allowed to do any sport. I lost a lot of school because of the many medical appointments – injections, blood tests, checkups. It turned out I was dyslexic too, and so I went to a specialist school. For the first three years in that school, they’d only let me play netball. I always liked football, and eventually got into it once they understood how my condition affects me, but it took a bit of time.

Even now, not many people know about haemophilia. I used to live in Hampshire, where most doctors know about it. But when I moved out of the county, a couple of years ago, I nearly died because no one knew about it. I had a little cut on my toe, where I’d picked my toenail. It was ingrowing and started bleeding. I nearly bled to death. Medics in the area didn’t have the experience to cope with it. An ambulance actually had to drive me all the way to Basingstoke, in Hampshire, to the specialists, because they didn’t know what to do with me…

Olly Black was speaking to Charissa King. For more information about Christians Against Poverty’s Debt Help service, visit


This is an extract from an article that was published in the September 2019 edition of Reform

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