GAFFNEY, SC – A Union mother is raising awareness of a rare condition that took the life of her son, before she got the chance to welcome him into the world.
Allison Gardner said she knew something was wrong with her pregnancy when what began as regular itching, became far more severe.
“Itching was more like clawing, I was clawing my legs,” she said Tuesday. “I had open sores on my legs.”
Stunned by the symptoms, Gardner said she did her own research online and discovered a rare condition called, ICP, or Intrahepatic Cholestasis of Pregnancy, which is a liver disorder.
Gardner said she went to her doctor several times, who shut down the idea, up until one kidney test proved she was right.
“I never would have thought it was going to happen to me. Those 3 weeks I itched like crazy but I just told myself I can do this for a few more weeks that’s no problem. That my baby would be worth every itch.”
According to Gardner, doctors wanted to wait three weeks before delivering her baby early.
Judd, the name she chose for her son, lived onlyl two and a half weeks longer.
“You plan all this time, 9 months, for your life to change,” Gardner explained. “And then it’s just ripped away from you.”
Devastated by the loss, family friend and head baseball coach at Gaffney High School, Jeff Osment, decided to dedicate his 2019 season to Judd.
According to Osment, his baseball players will wear hats with Judd’s initials on the back and bright orange jersey’s for ICP awareness to sport at a home game on March 14th.
“They’ll wear these jerseys and every time they pull it out, they’ll see “Judd’s legacy” or they’ll see his initials, and somebody is going to stop and ask, ‘When did Gaffney become an orange school?’ So it’s a conversation starter and we can tell the message then,” explained Osment.
Gardner said her mission as a mother is now to warn other women about the condition and encourage them to get tested multiple times for ICP.
But while Judd’s life was cut short, his legacy lives on.
“Learning that we lost our baby was devastating, but I knew right away that we were going to have a purpose and do something good with this,” said Gardner. “And we were going to save more babies.”