GSA Sponsors Hat Day to Raise HLH Awareness


By Chase Meyer

While a hat day was originally planned to be held this past Tuesday, Oct. 27, the Gay-Straight Alliance rescheduled it for Friday, Oct. 30. GSA President Madi Bowen says that it is all in an effort to raise awareness of hemophagocytic lymphohistiocytosis (HLH) after the passing of former FHN student Arissa Ball over this past summer.

“It blows that it happened,” Bowen, a senior, said. “When she was diagnosed, I couldn’t help but think ‘I don’t know what that is’ and everyone else was giving out the same reaction.”

Click here to see what students like about being able to wear their hats to school.

ThingLink by Bree Williams

HLH can almost be compared to cancer in its characteristics. Cells produced by the immune system in the body don’t work properly to effectively remove damaged or infected tissue as they should. Because of this, the immune system becomes overstimulated and begins attacking the brain, liver and bone marrow.

“I think awareness about [HLH] is an important thing,” Bowen continued. “Obviously it happens and I’m pretty sure no one knows about it.”

While there are many HLH foundations out there, the ultimate goal of many of them is to enlighten pediatricians, hospitals and parents about the warning signs of the disease. The initial treatment includes a bone marrow transplant which has the potential to be effective if the patient is diagnosed fast enough.

The cost for the hat day will be $1 and the proceeds will go to an HLH foundation of GSA’s choice.

Cincinnati Children’s Hospital created a video to elaborate more on HLH. Watch it below to learn more.

Cincinnati Children's Hospital Medical Center