Real life ‘Red Band Society’: Cincinnati Children’s patients for - Cincinnati News, FOX19-WXIX TV

Real life 'Red Band Society': Cincinnati Children's patients form bonds

'Super Joey' was diagnosed at age 10 with Histiocytosis. 'Super Joey' was diagnosed at age 10 with Histiocytosis.
Fort Thomas residents held a dog wash Sunday to raise money for histio. Fort Thomas residents held a dog wash Sunday to raise money for histio.
(FOX19) -

The new FOX drama Red Band Society follows the struggles of children facing serious illnesses as patients at a Los Angeles Hospital.

The stories behind the show play out in real life every day across the country, including right here in Cincinnati.

It's called Histiocytosis, a disease much like cancer. The only difference is you probably have never heard of it. It is rare disease with no cure and no government funding for research due to its rarity.  

Family and friends of a young Fort Thomas boy they call "Super Joey" held a dog wash Sunday to raise money for histio. Super Joey was diagnosed at age 10 with Histiocytosis.

"He's had kids just flat out ask him if he's gonna die," says Joey's mom Gina Stegner. "His white blood cells ate his hip bone."

Joey spent four months in a wheelchair and shocked his doctors when he learned to walk again.

"It's very much like cancer where pretty much the only difference is that it only affects 5 in a million people," said Joey.

Much like the children featured in FOX's Red Band Society, Joey found his best friends through his disease.

"He was super cool and he liked some of the things I liked so we found a match," said 18-year-old Ian Anderson.

Ian has a form of Histiocytosis too and so does 4-year-old Sophia Lopez. Together, they've formed a bond through the rarest of circumstances.

"He could be himself. He didn't have to answer all these questions because they all kind of got it," said Ian's mom Aimee.

Now they are raising money to fight the incurable disease with a dog wash, a bake sale, dog portraits and whatever else will make money to fund research.

Due to the rarity of Histiocytosis, most of the research funding comes from families affected by the disease who are already swamped with thousands of dollars in medical bills.

Super Joey says the disease that may attack their bodies but has no chance of breaking their friendship.

"He's one of my best friends and so is Sophia and so is pretty much anyone with histio even if I haven't met them," said Joey.

Cincinnati Children's Hospital is one of the only hospitals in the country that can treat Histiocytosis. For more information on the disease and how you can help click here.

Red Band Society airs Wednesday nights at 9 p.m. on FOX19 NOW.

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