A Super Hero Taken Too Soon: Manu Ajamu Williams’ Story, as told by Christina Martin

Categories: Patient Stories

The personal story below is intended for informational purposes only. The National Blood Clot Alliance (NBCA) holds the rights to all content that appears on its website. The use by another organization or online group of any content on NBCA’s website, including patient stories that appear here, does not imply that NBCA is connected to these other organizations or groups or condones or endorses their work. Please contact info@stoptheclot.org with questions about this matter.


Manu Ajamu WilliamNATL BLOOD CLOT 44s was born in Chicago, Illinois, on October 14, 1977. Affectionately known as “Shaq,” he was always the life of the party and had a wide assortment of friends. Shaq stood tall at 6 feet 3 inches, and weighing in at 300 pounds he was all muscle.  He had beautiful honey-brown eyes that were always hidden by designer frames. Manu had a contagious laugh, a beautiful smile, and gravitating personality.  He was a very hard worker who put in long hours in the healthcare and service industries. Often times, he would win awards for his service, and his patients and their families would give him “thank you” letters for his bedside manner. Manu was the type of guy who would literally “give the shirt off of his back” to help others in need.

Although Shaq looked like a super hero with bulging biceps and a larger than life personality, he too had his kryptonite. In 2002, he passed out at work, after blood clots entered his lungs from a broken ankle the month before. This was the first time we knew that he suffered from this issue. He was in the hospital for more than a week, as the doctors worked day and night to break up his blood clots. Fortunately, he was cleared to go home and started taking a blood thinner regularly.

In 2008, the issue came back, as Shaq had to have minor inpatient surgery to remove an abscess in his lower thigh. He continued to voice concerns to his doctor that he still felt pain, which he said felt like a blood clot.  Nevertheless, he was cleared by his doctor to go home.  About a week later, he was rushed back to the emergency room as blood clots traveled to his lungs. This time it was more serious, as he had eight blood clots in his lungs very close to his heart and he was in a lot of pain. He stayed in the intensive care unit for three days and he was admitted to the hospital for more than two weeks. Still, the issue was resolved and he was sent home with a prescription for additional blood thinners.

In August 2014, Shaq went to the doctor complaining about pain in his leg.  Shaq voiced that it might be a blood clot. The doctor advised him it was a hamstring pull and sent him home. Shaq continued to voice his concerns toManu and me _FINAL IMAGES (3) his family and friends, but Shaq was the type of person to listen to doctors and not take it as seriously given the doctor’s reaction and response.

On September 28, 2014, Shaq passed out that morning as he was having trouble breathing. He was taken by ambulance to the hospital very quickly. Unfortunately, Manu “Shaq” Williams passed away early that afternoon as the doctors did everything they could, but the blood clot had hit his heart. Shaq was only 36 years young.

It is very important that we educate ourselves about the risks of blood clots. Often times, doctors may misdiagnose a blood clot as a muscle pull or a minor injury. It’s important for us to talk to family and friends about the risks, learn the symptoms and demand more tests while they are in the hospital or doctor’s office. There needs to be a cost effective way to do this so we can save lives.  I’m writing this letter because I love Manu “Shaq” Williams very much. He is the love of my life, longtime best friend, and now my angel. My new mission is to help people prevent this from happening to the ones they love the most. Please forward this story, donate whatever comes to your heart or get the word out so we can STOP THE CLOT!

 

 

 

Author: L F

23 Responses to "A Super Hero Taken Too Soon: Manu Ajamu Williams’ Story, as told by Christina Martin"

  1. gabriella
    gabriella Posted on December 18, 2014 at 12:01 am

    thanks for the info I to am suffering these clots in my left leg

  2. LaToya J.
    LaToya J. Posted on December 21, 2014 at 7:50 pm

    Shaq, may you Rest In Peace.

  3. Christina Martin
    Christina Martin Posted on December 25, 2014 at 3:00 am

    I want to send a special thank you this holiday to Randi, Lisa, Judi, Eric and Mike from the National Blood Clot Alliance. In the midst of my grieving they stepped up to the plate and are helping me promote blood clot awareness in the Chicago area. This is my first Christmas without Manu since 1995. What keeps me going is my new mission. The NBCA does wonderful work.

    Happy Holidays, Merry Christmas and Happy New Years!

    God Bless You!
    Christina Martin

    • L F
      L F Posted on January 1, 2015 at 4:01 am

      Christina…
      We’re so fortunate to have met you. Thank you for reaching out to NBCA. We all stand with you and we’re all on the same team now. May 2015 bring you peace, ligh, and laughter. — Lisa

    • Linda Huseyin
      Linda Huseyin Posted on March 31, 2015 at 3:24 pm

      Dear Christine

      Firstly i cried at your storey about your poor man going through so much for so long, may he rest in peace , I have been Misdiagnosed with Huge P/E back in 02 / 08/ 2013 . I was overdosed on highest dose i ever heard off , my pain is now Musculoskeletal , i went in for back pain as i suffered accident in 1997.9 months later i am still having side affects ..Heart pain , chest Spasms , it was / is the most scariest thing i ever want to live through !
      Now i envy people who died within weeks , I am so happy that i did not , I feel if he was taken more seriously as he was fit ( i too , not so much now , it takes time.) I feel your pain , wishing you much abundance in life , Bless you Linda Huseyin

  4. Monique
    Monique Posted on December 30, 2014 at 3:16 pm

    Am sorry to hear that what happen I had two blood clots first one was 2013 but that was in my lung short of breath and sharp pain .took blood thinner .but then it came back this year January 2014. But this time I was getting pains in my right leg and pains in my chest that come and go. And short of breath.am back on blood thinner again. But am worrying becouse am getting pains in my right leg and am short of breath walk long distance and up hills and stairs.

  5. Anita
    Anita Posted on December 30, 2014 at 6:14 pm

    I am so sorry for your lost and Thank you for sharing your story because we must get the word out regarding the dangers and warning signs of blood clots. My adult son is going through the same thing right now and to complicate matters he also has Suckle Cell Anemia. Its been about a month since he came home from the hospital after being in there for several weeks. He is still on medications and returns to the doctor’s office for treatment and testing of his levels. We (his wife, 2 teenage children and me) are worried……we have seen improvement, but we know it is a slow process. We stay in prayer and I pray for you and your family that you stay strong and be Blessed.
    Anita

  6. Anita
    Anita Posted on December 30, 2014 at 6:15 pm

    I am so sorry for your lost and Thank you for sharing your story because we must get the word out regarding the dangers and warning signs of blood clots. My adult son is going through the same thing right now and to complicate matters he also has Sickle Cell Anemia. Its been about a month since he came home from the hospital after being in there for several weeks. He is still on medications and returns to the doctor’s office for treatment and testing of his levels. We (his wife, 2 teenage children and me) are worried……we have seen improvement, but we know it is a slow process. We stay in prayer and I prayer for you and your family that you stay strong and be Blessed.

  7. Amy
    Amy Posted on December 31, 2014 at 6:21 pm

    I am so sorry to hear about Manu’s/ Shaq’s story. Too many times, people have a knowing that there is something incredibly wrong and when they go to the doctor’s, they are only turned away, being told that it is nothing to worry about. The worst part is that he had blood clots in his health history. Clots that start in the deep veins within the legs can break off and travel to the heart (causing a heart attack), the brain (causing a stroke), or the lungs (as you know, causing pulmonary embolism).

    Beyond the clots, people and healthcare professionals alike must advocate for the fact that people know their bodies. They know when something is wrong. However, it is so unfortunate that time and time again, expert opinion trumps personal knowledge, with dire and mortal consequences, and that it is allowed to continue. People hold doctors in such positions due to their training and advertising, and they have a responsibility to have evidence for their diagnoses and the information that they share. Assumptions are unacceptable.

    We need to emancipate people in their health. They need to know that they too, have expert knowledge with their bodies and through the Internet and other resources, they can locate information and partner with healthcare professionals. They need to find someone who respects their position as a partner, not a recipient, in care.

  8. Elizabeth baca
    Elizabeth baca Posted on January 5, 2015 at 7:33 pm

    I am so sorry for ur loss. My son kyle baca died at the age of 14, oct 30, 2010, from bilateral massive PE. He was misdiagnosed with pneumonia and it was blood clots. Keep getting the word out about this silent killer. Thank u for sharing.

  9. Karen Parr
    Karen Parr Posted on January 6, 2015 at 8:12 am

    Same thing happened to me. I went to the doctor and complained about aching legs and told her I could feel my heart beating more heavily or more prominately than at any other time, even in my stomach. I told my THEN doctor all of this. She told me it was in my head!!!! The next morning, September 13, 2012, I was taken to the ER with pain and fluttering on my right side. I was diagnosed with Bilateral Pulmonary Emboli. Multiple clots had made their way to my lungs. I was hospitalized for a week. The doctors checked my blood and my heart and determined mine was due to inactivity caused by Major Depression, another silent killer. I sure hope they got the cause correct! I was put on a blood thinner as well. I am off of those now but want to be put back on something because I worry it will happen again. I am still inactive and still suffer with Major Recurrent & Severe Major Depression, a hateful disease! The fear that it will happen again crosses my mind nearly every day. I am scheduled to see my Pulmonologist sometime this month. Thanks for sharing your story. I am so sorry for your loss and the doctors’ ignorance.

  10. Dinesh kumar
    Dinesh kumar Posted on January 6, 2015 at 4:07 pm

    My brother who is 35, had also suffered from clotting in right legs was on medicine for one year. But Time disfavour us and this time clotting observed in brain and vision lost. he is on medicine but no major improvement has been observed in one and half month. only pray to god is last hope for us. His problem was also not identified by doctors at initial stage.

  11. Maurice Hussey
    Maurice Hussey Posted on January 10, 2015 at 12:20 pm

    This is so good, as I’m reading all these different stories about Blood Clots, It makes me very concern about how some doctors’ responded to a person telling them exactly how they’re feeling & then without check up & after check up, they’re getting their diagnosis wrong as trained professionals so as I said at the beginning, that a lot of people are putting their experience with DVT & PE out there to create awareness but on the other hand, it’s terrifying to know how many of US had been to the doctors for the same reason but yet still only get assumptions to leave with from OUR Health Care Services! It’s so shocking! I’ve recently found out that I’ve got a Blood Clot behind my knee, on my right leg after I was naive to the pain that I was feeling a few days before the new year, 2015 arrived & I still didn’t went to my GP until wednesday 07 January 2015 & when my GP saw me & she had a look & a feel of my leg, she didn’t hesitate, infact her actual words was, “I’m not taking any chances, I’m going to send you straight to A&E” which she did, thank God & I must admit that arriving at the A&E department, they did see to me fairly quick, praises be, due to the crises with the NHS these days, I certainly wasn’t expecting to be seen so quickly even though the waiting room wasn’t full, anyway they took some blood & ran tests & shortly after that I was talking with the consultant, who then told me that my blood tests shows that I didn’t have any Blood Clots & that it was a good sign & I have nothing to worry about but they wanted to be thorough so they’re sending me to do a scan which happens to show a very different result from my blood test! Surprisingly I’ve got a Blood Clot! They kept me in hospital over night & ran more tests because they wanted to find out what causes the Blood Clot so they sent me to do two more scans on the following day, the first was a CTCAP to rule out a sinister cause because they said that I have no risk factors for a DVT but the CTCAP showed that I have a thickening in my rectum which the radiologist was not too concerned about but to err on the side of caution they’ve organised an outpatient flexible sigmoidoscopy. The second scan was the same as the day before which is a doppler US & it showed a proximal DVT with an unattached edge & this is why it was repeated but it showed no changes so I was discharged & sent home with LMWH & after this I will receive an appointment for anticoagulaion clinic to be loaded on warfarin. A referral has been sent to a specialist at another hospital who will follow me up. I’m terrible sorry for anybody who had lost a love one, family member, a friend to this very dangerous, secret killer! Thanks to all of you for sharing your story. May the good Lord guide & keep you all with his precious love & mercy throughout this very painful time. Thanks. Maurice

  12. yolanda
    yolanda Posted on January 17, 2015 at 1:00 am

    Hi lm 53 and also was diagnosed with a blood clot on my right leg this happend in may 2013 l was 50 at the time l have a 14 yr old and a 22 yr old who has a mental illness suffer from bipolar.Any how to make story short l notice something was not right on my feet,l felt this tingling numbness for awhile then l suddently decided to go ahead and go have it check out and they did blood test and other text and found out that l had a big blood clot on my inner thigh of my right leg so they so l hadda stay an extra night at the hospital and they started giving me injections and put me on warfarin for 6 month after that my hemotologist took Me off warfarin and put me oh folic acid and thats what l been taking ever since oh my results came back saying that l have mutation Heterozygous Homozygous genes l inherited from one or both parents so lm a carrier so far l haventn have anymore blood clot since 2013 .But my prayers goes out to each and every one who are suffering from this desease .

  13. Jenna
    Jenna Posted on January 20, 2015 at 4:35 am

    It is so good to see a community of people that are going through the same thing! Although this is unfortunate, it is good to see that there is a support group out there!

    I am starting a blog about my experience of surviving a DVT blood clot at the age of 19 and would really appreciate it if you could check it out! I want to give people more insight on this by sharing my own personal experience and I want to be able to help others deal with this issue.

    https://bloodisthickerthanwaterr.wordpress.com
    Please do not hesitate to comment/leave feedback

    Thank you so much!!!
    Jenna

  14. Ivory sanders
    Ivory sanders Posted on February 14, 2015 at 10:28 am

    I’m on xarelto been on it since October 2014 scared as hell with this clot in my leg had a ultrasound they are dissolving but they r not letting me c the images have a appointment February 17 hope I will get off this medicine will ask doctor lots of questions tired of the commercials about this medicine been very active don’t no how I got this dvt

  15. NATASGA
    NATASGA Posted on February 19, 2015 at 5:36 am

    Thanks i have a cllot in December 2014 pain in my chest came to hospital was diaagnose with blood cllot in my lungs was surprised , it a serious and major issue i scared every day have to take the blood thinners for eight months but i thank god i have seven kids cant afford to say bye to them really wnat to see see them grow my heart reach out to your pain

  16. Bethany
    Bethany Posted on March 16, 2015 at 5:03 am

    I just read your story and it just floors me that given his medical history the doctors didn’t take him seriously. My boyfriend, the love of my life was just admitted to hospital for this same thing. He had a blood clot around his lungs close to his heart, if he hadn’t got checked in when he did he would have died or had some serious complications. The doctor came in and told him what was going on and he told him he’s gonna die from this. I am devastated just thinking about all this but I do know it’s in God’s hands He has ultimate control of everything in this world. We don’t make it out alive but have eternal life with Him. I am so sorry for your loss but it helps to know you are not alone support pages like these help others like you and me. I’m gonna do everything in my power to try and help my boyfriend so he doesn’t have this happening to him for a long time. This past hospital stay was his 4th time, its the first time for me to be dealing with this. I am aware of the symptoms and if the doctors say otherwise I’m gonna be hounding them doctors to give more tests, all they have to do is look at his medical record to see he has a problem with blood clots. Anyway, I pray for you and your family and I pray there is a cure found. God bless

    • Linda Huseyin
      Linda Huseyin Posted on March 31, 2015 at 3:31 pm

      Dear Christine

      Firstly i cried at your storey about your poor man going through so much for so long, may he rest in peace , I have been Misdiagnosed with Huge P/E back in 02 / 08/ 2013 . I was overdosed on highest dose i ever heard off , my pain is now Musculoskeletal , i went in for back pain as i suffered accident in 1997.9 months later i am still having side affects ..Heart pain , chest Spasms , it was / is the most scariest thing i ever want to live through !
      Now i envy people who died within weeks , I am so happy that i did not , I feel if he was taken more seriously as he was fit ( i too , not so much now , it takes time.) I feel your pain , wishing you much abundance in life , Bless you Linda Huseyin

  17. Ronald Brown
    Ronald Brown Posted on April 16, 2015 at 3:03 pm

    He won me over when he sold his motorcycle to purchase a ring for my sister. He was her superman,friend and soul mate. When my sister went to Fisk University, he transferred to be close to her. Some times life has many turns, and bumps; the deposits of Gods love is shown in the people he lets us meet and share our lives with. He did his best to take are of his mother and sister; and still have time to care for my sister. This above story only gives a snap shoot of his heart.

  18. Lee
    Lee Posted on April 19, 2015 at 9:05 pm

    Dads are sometimes concerned about the friends that their daughter makes.
    After meeting and talking to Manu Williams decades ago. I discovered an upstanding young man.
    A young man that cared for his mother and sister’s family.
    Someone that won respect by his work with the elderly, and a had the joy of laughter with his friends
    His warm smile was ever present. He liked sports, video games, and working out at the gym.
    I will remember him as a friend to my daughter and the hundreds of people he touched along the way

  19. Tamara
    Tamara Posted on September 8, 2015 at 5:01 am

    I am 43 and recently had a heart cath done which a week later blood clots formed where the incision was. I was diagnosed with 2 DVT in right leg and have not been able to take blood thinners because I have unexplained anemia. Haven’t had much luck with doctors finding out where or what is causing the anemia. The hospital decided to insert a filter in me and told me if I didn’t do it I would have a 95% chance of dying. Once I got home 2 days ago I see a recent article on these BARD filters and how they are killing people. I am lost for words but hearing of others stories have gave me some hope but also sadness. I promise if I get through this I want to volunteer more of my time for clot awareness. I am still so young and hope that I make it through all of this.

  20. Narobi Williams
    Narobi Williams Posted on September 10, 2015 at 6:39 am

    Prayers for you and your family.