Despite illness, this Clemson fan will be tuned in for the Tigers-Gamecocks game – Greenville News

Posted: November 28, 2019 at 9:45 pm

Angie Grice is a such huge Clemson football fan that in 20 years shes rarely missed a home game or any of the Tigers-Gamecocks match-ups.

At her tailgate parties, the plates, the tablecloth and even a rug are orange.

Angie Grice gets a visit from the Clemson Tigers mascot during her three months in the hospital.(Photo: Bon Secours St. Francis Health System)

But for this years annual Thanksgiving weekend face-off between Clemson and USC, shell be watching from home.

Diagnosed with aplastic anemia in May, the Simpsonville woman spent three months in the hospital and is still too sick to cheer her beloved Tigersfromthe stadium. Instead, she hopes to have a few friends over to catch the gameon TV.

Ive liked Clemson forever," she told The Greenville News.

"Im missing the game this yearand Im sad about that, she said.But its OK. At least Im able to watch it.

Grice, 52, first realized something was wrong in August 2018 when she suddenly had trouble crossing the parking lot from her car to her job as a physical therapy assistant.

I was very short of breath, she recalls. It would take me a long time to do anything. I just couldnt breathe.

She saw her family doctor, who sent her to Bon Secours St. Francis Health System when her blood work wassuspicious.

Angie Grice at Clemson University(Photo: Angie Grice)

An initial bone marrow biopsy was negative.But a second revealedaplastic anemia,which prevents the bone marrow frommakingenough new blood cells for the body to function normally, according to the National Institutes of Health.

The condition is so rare it strikes only 600 to 900 Americansa year, according to the The Aplastic Anemia and MDS International Foundation.

Symptoms include fatigue, weakness, dizziness, shortness of breath, infections, and easy bruising or bleeding,the NIHreports.The cause can bethe bodys own immune system attackingthe bone marrow, heredity, some drugs, and certain toxins likepesticides and benzene.

When St. Francis hematologist Dr. Fahd Quddus first saw her, Grices platelet level was 8,000 compared to a normal of 150,000.

Whenever you drop below 20,000, youre at risk of significant, life-threatening bleeding, he said. She also had significant anemia. And her white cells were also very low.

She was started on immunosuppressive medication and other drugs in combination with blood transfusions. But sadly, he said, she suffered multiple infections, fevers and a mild stroke, requiring her to stay in the hospital.

Dr. Fahd Quddus(Photo: Bon Secours St. Francis Health System)

For a few weeks, it was touch and go, Quddus said. She was very sick.

Grice'sblood counts eventually rebounded and though shes now out of the hospital, shestill needsregulartransfusions.

She's wellenough to begin a new treatment, he said, butnot yet strong enoughfor a stem celltransplant.

Theresstill a long road to recovery, Quddussaid. But she always looks at it half full. And thats a good thing because people who stay positive can do better.

No longer able to work because of the weakness and danger of infection, Gricesays shes doing OK thanks tofamily and friends.

Angie Grice at a Clemson game(Photo: Angie Grice)

My mom and dad and sister help, she says. And I am truly blessed with a lot of friends who help.

In years past, Grice and her friends arrived at the stadiumseveral hours before kick-off, spending 10 to 12 hours thereon game days.

Inside their orange tent, they set up a coupleTVs to watch other games before and after the Clemson game. There was always plenty ofgood food,smack talk and Tigersmerchandise.

Were a little over the top, she says. But its fun.

During her grueling three-monthhospital stay, it was a visit from the Clemson Tigers mascot that lifted her spirits.

One of Angie Grice's many Clemson decorations(Photo: Angie Grice)

While watching from home wont be as exciting, Grice says shes going to make the best of it. And when asked whos going to win this years game, sheexclaims, Clemson, of course!

If you ask Carolina, they will say they are, she adds with a chuckle. But theyre delusional. Were going to win this year.

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