Forever Young: Paul Englert, Jr.’s Story, as Told by His Family

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 the 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.


T14his January, Paul should be celebrating his 22nd birthday and preparing to finish his senior year of college in May, at the University at Buffalo, with a degree in Civil Engineering. Instead, we are celebrating his short life and bringing awareness to others about blood clots.

We wish we would have known the symptoms of blood clots. We wish we would have known it can affect anyone, at any age, at any time.

Sadly, Paul, Jr. was not one of the lucky ones. He did not survive his blood clots. He passed away on September 19, 2013, at the age of 19, from a pulmonary embolism (a blood clot in his lung). Unfortunately, Paul did not exhibit many symptoms. The only symptom Paul presented with was shortness of breath, and therefore, he was believed to have developed exercise-induced asthma. He was the picture of health. Paul was a very active, healthy 19-year-old young man who never had asthma. He played many sports throughout his life and was working out at the gym several times a week with his friends. It was September and allergy season was in full force so it made sense that Paul would have some trouble breathing when he exerted himself. After all, I also have seasonal allergies and need to use my inhaler when I exercise in the summer.

It appeared suddenly, out of nowhere, at the end of August 2013. I remember the first time I noticed a difference in Paul. He had just walked down the stairs in our house and sat on the couch next to his grandmother, who was visiting from out of town. I heard him breathing heavily and asked him what he had just done…it sounded like he ran a marathon. He laughed and said, “I know, I just came down the stairs.”  Paul never, not one time, complained about having trouble breathing. His father and I continued to notice the problem and sent him to see his doctor. It made perfect sense when he came home with an inhaler, which he used for a week and I noticed no improvement so he returned to the doctor for another appointment. I had hoped he would be prescribed a steroid, because that seemed to make sense given the continued shortness of breath and continuing allergy season. I am not a doctor, but that was my motherly instinct. Apparently, the doctor agreed, because that is what he prescribed for Paul. However, the very next day, Paul left for classes and never came home (he commuted to the University at Buffalo). He collapsed while at school that day and died instantly.

We never got to say goodbye.

We miss his contagious smile and his hearty laugh. According to many of his friends, Paul was always laughing and smiling. He was such a happy, big-hearted, all-around good guy who was great at giving advice. He had your back and he had the ability to cheer people up without even knowing they were having a bad day. He was described by one of his bosses as being an old soul.

MOM, PJ & DAD

It is not common practice to test for blood clots in an otherwise healthy, fit, young man. Ironically, Paul’s godmother suffered from blood clots, only three months after Paul’s death, due to birth control pills. If we hadn’t just lost Paul and researched the symptoms, we could have lost her as well.

We often hear it’s rare or uncommon for an individual like Paul who is active, healthy and has no known risk factors to develop a pulmonary embolism and die. Take a look at the National Blood Clot Alliance website. Scan through the patient stories and you will see there are many younger people who have developed blood clots. There also seems to be more stories on the news of younger people developing blood clots.

Once every six minutes someone dies from a blood clot. They can be treated if diagnosed. Unfortunately, sometimes the first symptom can be death.

It has become our goal to educate others about the blood clot risks and symptoms of blood clots with the hopes of saving other lives through early diagnosis and treatment. March is Blood Clot Awareness Month, the perfect time for our Forever Young fundraiser in memory of our beloved son and only child Paul Englert, Jr.

The National Blood Clot Alliance Forever Young Fundraiser is being held Sunday, March 6, 2016, at the Clarence Fire Hall, 10355 Main St., Clarence, NY 14031, from 1:00-5:00 pm. Please join us in our efforts to educate others about the prevention, risk factors and symptoms of blood clots.

To read more about the Forever Young Fundraiser, please click here.
Author: SW

11 Responses to "Forever Young: Paul Englert, Jr.’s Story, as Told by His Family"

  1. Patty
    Patty Posted on January 14, 2016 at 6:30 am

    I am very sorry for the loss of your son. And glad you wrote his story to further get the word out.
    I am still recovering from bilateral pulmonary embolisms since the end of September.
    Ironically my father passed away 25 years ago from them post surgery – and yet all my genetic tests are negative.
    Both he and I were results of medical staff who basically overlooked our symptoms.

  2. Chris Collins
    Chris Collins Posted on January 15, 2016 at 11:58 pm

    Paul was on my school bus at St Joe’s. He was an extremely nice kid and made a great impression on everyone. The lacrosse team also saw him as one of its leaders and best talents on the squad. He is missed greatly.

  3. mary martin
    mary martin Posted on January 18, 2016 at 7:15 pm

    Your story brought tears to my eyes. My grandson, Nigel, was seconds away from dying. Nigel has Factor V Leiden. He is 19 years old. His dad decided to take him to the hospital when Nigel complained of his legs swelling and hurting. The nurse said that if he had waited a few minutes more, Nigel would have died. After trying to dissolve the solid blood clot in Nigel’s legs…no luck the first time…the second time the dissolving medicine had to be removed as the medicine was causing Nigel to bleed internally. It took Nigel’s doctor awhile to figure out what was causing the blood clot. May you and your family find peace knowing that your son, Paul, is enjoying complete peace and happiness in heaven.

  4. Rebekah Hilty
    Rebekah Hilty Posted on January 21, 2016 at 5:34 pm

    This sounds just like my son’s story (Jason Michael Hilty). He died 7 years ago at the age of 19 from a PE in his lungs caused by a DVT in his right leg but the physician he went to knew he had a history in his family of blood clots and had tested him a year before for one in his left leg. So sad. I am so sorry for your loss. No one truly knows how hard it is to lose a loved one especially your child. Yes, DVTs can happen to a teenager and physicians need to be educated on that.

  5. ka
    ka Posted on January 25, 2016 at 4:08 pm

    Such a sad loss of such a lovely guy. I have suffered PEs twice now. First time at 26yr old. Warfarin for 6months. Then it happened again at 39yr. First time it happened i thought id had a heart attack. Pain in left side of neck and down arm. Couldnt breath deeply. Second time it happened it was slow. First i was tired all the time then i felt like i was slowly being strangled. Couldnt walk up the stairs without having to lay down and nearly fainting. Horrible. Still suffer with pressure in chest and head pressure now. Struggle with exercise at times. But its the stairs symptom that id go by. Unless your really unfit dont miss that warning sign. And dont be fobbed off at the drs. They say astma or stress. Xx

  6. Tamara
    Tamara Posted on February 1, 2016 at 8:57 pm

    Sorry for your loss. Prayers to your family.

  7. Ruby
    Ruby Posted on February 1, 2016 at 10:48 pm

    Sorry for your loss I myself am a survivor of a double pulmonary embolism. I thank god everyday that I am still here. Mine came on like a freight train couldn’t breath almost passed out I spent a week in the hospital when they took me in to emerengy room my oxygen was 40% bp was all messed up. I have factor v leiden as does my brother we never knew we were until it almost took out life. Best wishes to you and your family. Again I’m sorry for your loss.

  8. sarah
    sarah Posted on February 1, 2016 at 11:28 pm

    I sufferd bilateral pulmonary embolisms on lungsback in october and was miss diagnosed im 29 and was brung in by ambulance with chest pain shortness of breath and very low blood pressure, once I was stabbelised I was sent for a standard x ray which came back clear. I was told I had a virus and sent home later that day baring in mind tgis was day 3 of this pain in my heartand been to doctors twice beforehand being told one time I strained chest cavity amd another time a chest infection. After being discharged from hospital I took myself back to doctora 2 days later with no improvement and extremely tired and finally decided to do blood works.Phone call les than 24 hrs later telling me to head straight back to hospital where I had a vq scan (just to rule out blood clots) they said as they were still convinced I had some infection but dvt levels were high. They were all shocked to learn it was PE as otherwise fit healthy etc . Been on a long road to recovery and very lucky to be alive but im left saddened as I learn more about PE how ignorant medical professionals are when it comes to age discrimination as I now knw can affect anyone, and whats even more upsetting is can be picked up in a simple blood test. Im really sorry for your loss and carry on doing great work with awareness as I now it can save lives. Everyday I live in fear while waiting ro find my cause and now im of thinners for now ive been given a 20% chance of more but live in hope that I will now be listened too if need be

  9. maria daly-reah
    maria daly-reah Posted on February 1, 2016 at 11:47 pm

    Can’t begin to imagine your pain but so inspired by you raising awareness. I have anti thrombin 3 deficiency and factor 5 leidon also. 12 dvts and 2 pe’s later I live with the fear my next will be my last but I can cope with that. Both my sons have been diagnosed with anti thrombin 3 deficiency and it tears me up inside that I have passed my curse to them. I thank you for your bravery in raising awareness God bless and may your beautiful boy rest forever in peace xx

  10. Anne B
    Anne B Posted on February 23, 2016 at 5:32 pm

    My brother in law suffered his first stroke at 49, due to a blood clot blockage, two months later his older brother suffered from DVT after driving 10 hours straight, and yeat a third brother 8 months later developed pulmonary embolisms. My brother in law who had the strokes was told he was Leyden Factor V positive, a genetic blood disorder where the blood clots too well.. each of the brothers and nephews and grandsons were told to have the blood test for it. My husband tested positive, and has been on a low dose aspirin regimen since. Luckily my son tested negative. I wonder if after his strokes he had told his brothers sooner about the Leyden Factor if the others could have been prevented. Please share health histories with your family, especially if it something genetic or hereditary.

  11. Donna Nist
    Donna Nist Posted on February 25, 2016 at 1:45 pm

    I am so sorry for the loss off your son. I am a two time survivor of pulmonary embolisms. The first time it was one lung. The second time it was bilateral. Doctors are amazed I survived one much less two times
    I was put on warfarin after the first bout. After 10 years of warfarin I suffered a throat bleeding. I was removed from warfarin and 3 months later had the bi lateral attack. Deep throat surgery stopped the bleeding from my throat.
    I am back on warfarin now. Doctors discovered I have factor v leidens mutation only after the second attack.
    I wonder every day if I will bleed again or clot again.
    I will pray for you and your son.