Finding a passion and being able to live out that passion is a rare experience. This is definitely the case for Dr. Joseph Moleski. Joe was diagnosed with Severe Hemophilia A at six months old due to a joint bleed in his knee. There was no family history of hemophilia so his parents were quite surprised by the diagnosis. Fortunately, Joe’s parents were very supportive throughout his childhood and allowed him to live as normal as possible. They were cautious but also compromised with Joe when it came to sports and physical activities. Joe enjoyed basketball and several other sports during his childhood. Joe’s younger brother, who also has severe hemophilia a, plays basketball and is very active.
Joe suffered a few major injuries while he was growing up. He had two shoulder surgeries, because those were his targets joints. Since surgery, he has full range of motion in both shoulders now. At the age of 13, when Joe’s younger brother was born, he decided it was time to be in control of his health and set an example for his brother. He began self-infusing and being more proactive about his prophylaxis schedule. Joe wanted to be more independent and also set a positive example. This was the first major turning point in Joe’s life. He wasn’t going to let hemophilia define him; he was going to take control of his health as much as possible.
The second major change in Joe’s life came when he was a junior in high school. He hadn’t focused on his grades at all up to this point. He was living a positive life in other areas, but school was a struggle due to bullying and being misunderstood. Joe decided it was time to change his grades, he set a goal to have a 4.0 grade average. He applied himself in math and science, and a few months later, he reached that goal with a perfect average. He decided at that moment, he was going to use those abilities to help others. Joe knew he wanted to go into the medical field.
Joe began working hard and set goals to attend medical school. He attended University of Missouri St. Louis for his undergraduate degree in biology and continued into medical school at Kansas City University School of Medicine. He is currently in his residency at St. Louis University and will be finished in three months. Joe’s decision to become a doctor is so he could treat hemophilia patients and be able to relate to them on the ultimate level; he isn’t just their doctor, he also has hemophilia and understands how his patients are feeling.
Joe is a family medicine doctor and will be a primary care doctor for hemophilia patients. His goal is to work directly with a hematologist at a Hemophilia treatment center. Joe was fortunate to have a mentor throughout high school that helped guide him into medical school. Dr. Santos, Joe’s mentor, helped Joe by believing in him, but also by writing recommendation letters and buying books. Dr. Santos spoke to Joe about life during medical school and some of the challenges he could face.
Joe believes all young hemophilia patients need to find a passion and find a mentor to guide them. He was blessed to find both of those things and credits that to a lot of his success. Joe was fortunate to grow up with supportive parents and was able to overcome the situations of bullying. He stresses to parents to try and view hemophilia as an inconvenience and not as a life defining condition. He is proving this outlook and leading by example.
Joe and his wife, Jacky, love to travel and garden. Joe also enjoys cooking and has a salt water fish aquarium he loves to care for. Joe is the ultimate example of living out our passion by serving others.