By Daniel Rodriguez

Joebert Rosal is a man of many achievements: an International Baccalaureate diploma candidate, a potential AP National Scholar, an Academic All-American, the Most Likely to Succeed in the class of 2014, and generally considered to one of the hardest working students at Bonita Vista High School. With all of his successes, no one would expect him to suffer from a nagging chronic disease- familial hypercholesterolemia.

“I have always had it, ever since I was born, but I never knew till I was 8 years old,” Joebert Rosal said.

Familial hypercholesterolemia, or FH for short, is a genetic disorder caused by a defect in a chromosome. This condition does not allow the body or the liver receptors to remove cholesterol from the bloodstream which can then later lead to clogging in the arteries. This type of defect is genetic as both of Rosal’s parents only carry a mild form of this condition, leaving him with the dominant gene. According to MedlinePlus, a federal health website, a child who inherits this gene from both parents is a very rare case as it increases the risk of heart disease and heart attacks during childhood. Although Rosal has not suffered from any of these symptoms, he will still be at risk throughout his entire life.

“The primary toll of having this is that I miss a lot of school,” Rosal said, “ it affects IB, homework, and speech and debate.”

Having this condition really affects Rosal in many ways, but that does not stop him from going on through his daily life. He takes two types of treatments to lower the risks. The first is a medical drug called Statins which is prescribed to lower cholesterol. This type of drug is generally taken by the elderly, who suffer from the same type of medical condition as Rosal. The second treatment is called apheresis, a medical procedure that filters the whole blood from the patient in order for it to clean the arteries. This procedure is hard to come by, as the technology is very limited, but for Rosal, getting the technology was made possible through the UCSD medical center. The medical center was able to bring the necessary technology to not only help Joebert but many other patients in need. Here, he attends the center once every other week to get this procedure in order for him to lower the levels of high cholesterol. His appointments generally are scheduled only during the week on Tuesdays and Fridays, since it is when the doctor is available. This makes him miss important days from school, however, many of his teachers have become very supportive by helping him reschedule tests and assignments.

“He had to work extra hard for both of us to get me up to speed with debate,” debate partner Althea Roy said of when he first began participating in Speech and Debate, “I really admire his work ethic and how he does not complain much.”

Even though Rosal will always be affected by this, it has taught him many new things about life and himself, as he pushes forward towards working hard to achieve his goals.

“Having this has shown me a new perspective on carrying myself in life and what my goals are,” Rosal said.

Being in many science classes, Rosal wants to enter the medical field to further extend medical technology in order to help many others. This goal, of course, came about due to his own condition. He does not want people with a certain condition like his to be turned away because of the lack of technology and funding. On another note, he encourages people to be aware of what they have before it is too late to solve the issue. As he has become aware of his condition at a young age, he has lowered the risk of many symptoms that can happen to him and has focused on taken better care of himself better.

“Medical awareness is a very big part on staying in a healthy condition,” Rosal said.