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April 17 , 2011

Legacy: The Hemophilia of Yesterday


"Last night I lay awake almost until five-thirty, with no more than a few winks of sleep. My hip around the spot where the needle was injected really hurt. And I could not begin to lie on it. And in the morning, I almost killed myself. But I did see the sunrise, through the bedroom window, and it was beautiful . . . "

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A teenager with a passion for writing begins a journal in his western farming community, on a stage set for the drama of World War II. He records a unique time in his life, when his dreams of independence and romance are born, nurtured by hope.

But a mysterious illness threatens his life and inflicts excruciating pain. Not knowing what's wrong, he remains outwardly stoical, but reveals his suffering and fear in his eloquent journal entries. With deep appreciation for the simplest pleasures in life – going for a walk, attending a school dance – he waits for the day when doctors will learn what's wrong with him and how his illness can be treated.

Ralph Dean Rytting was diagnosed with hemophilia in 1943 at age sixteen. With the limited treatment available at that time, he endured debilitating bleeds. Yet he never let the limitations imposed by hemophilia crush his desire to be educated, work, and raise a family. Faithfully recording his thoughts and feelings, Ralph reveals how he overcame life's unpredictable challenges with faith, humor, and irrepressible optimism.

Ralph's resolute spirit has been immortalized in Legacy: The Hemophilia of Yesterday, a collection of his journal entries from the war years, possibly the first diaries about hemophilia ever published.

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