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PREVIEW: Rockton man fighting rare genetic disease hoping for surgery to keep him alive

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Joe Triple Transplant

ROCKTON (WREX) — Joseph Beard is a 39-year-old man who, at first glance, seems like the average guy.

He lives in Rockton with his loving wife Hayley and their two kids Elsie and Molly.

However, a closer look shows Joe is far from average, in fact he's going through something only a couple hundred people worldwide are going through.

Joe has STAT3 gain of function disease, a condition that has plagued him for the last five years and put him on dialysis for the last two.

"I went to my doctors and started to investigate what was going on. They looked through all kinds of stuff, put me through all kinds of tests," Beard said.

"They've tried everything from experimental drugs to treatments but nothing really seems to help."

When all hope seemed lost, an opportunity presented itself.

After so much searching the Beards got in touch with the University of Pittsburgh Medical Center where Joe was accepted as a transfer patient.

He is in need of a kidney, liver and bone marrow transplant.

It's a procedure that medical leaders at UPMC say can help Joe's condition but it can also be a huge risk.

One that Joe is willing to take.

"I've had a lot of dark days, but I thought about my family," Beard said.

"I'll do what I have to do to keep going for them."

You can tune in to see the full story of Joe and his family's struggle and new found hope Thursday, July 1, on 13 News at 10.

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Evan Leake

Evan Leake anchors for 13 News Today and 13 News at Noon. Evan grew up in Darien, Illinois, a south-west suburb of Chicago. He came to WREX in 2017 and worked his way to the anchor desk in May of 2019. He coordinates both the Teacher of the Week and Inspiring 815 series for 13 News. You can connect with Evan at or Evan Leake on Facebook.

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