Ewa Josefkowicz Photo credit Ruta Zukaite

Living with Haemophilia is the subject of Ewa Josefkowicz’s latest book The Key to Finding Jack published on 3rd September 2020. Ewa tells us about her main character, Jack, and his strength to overcome the limitations that others think he needs to stay safe and protected.

The Key to Finding Jack is the story of Jack, a teenage boy who goes missing during an earthquake in Peru where he has been travelling on his gap year. His parents are frantic with worry, and his little sister Flick – to whom he was particularly close – is distraught.

While her parents work with the police to try and find Jack, Flick sets herself another task – to find the intended owner of a key that Jack has left under his beds with the cryptic note ‘For SF to keep until I’m back.’

Who is the mysterious S.F.? Flick makes a shortlist of everyone who Jack knew with those initials and visits them all. Each person tells her something interesting about her brother which she never knew before, and she pieces together the different elements of the puzzle to find out who her brother really is. 

Two things that Flick has always known about her brother is that he is incredibly determined and fiercely independent. Independence hasn’t come easy to him, because he suffers from haemophilia, a rare disorder in which your blood doesn’t clot normally because it lacks sufficient blood-clotting proteins. What this means in practice is that Jack bleeds for a much longer time than others and that some injuries could even be life-threatening to him.  

My knowledge of haemophilia comes from a friend who has the condition, with whom I grew up. I distinctly remember that while we were both wild young kids, adults were a lot more concerned when he fell over than when I did. Not understanding the condition, I was secretly annoyed that he was getting more attention than I was. The reality was that even a relatively small graze could be very dangerous to him. 

I’ve learned that one of the main desires for many people with haemophilia is to be able to travel independently, and in a time in which gap years have become popular, it’s something that in most cases can be done, albeit with very careful planning. For those who rely on regular injections to aid clotting, it’s a case of making sure that they can be safely transported and administered, especially in remote parts of the world, where standards of hygiene are not always what we might be used to. 

With some great organisation, Jack manages to achieve everything that he sets out to do and more. So you might say that the story is a journey not just about finding Jack, but also of his family realising that he’s capable of more than they’d ever imagined despite living with haemophilia.

Read our review of The Key to Finding Jack

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