Grad student researches cure for EDS


These days, true love is hard to come by. As college students, we date frequently and yet, it seems that only few can obtain the “once in a lifetime” love that appears at the end of every great story.

Courtesy of Alexa Haycraft

However, Nick Malcolm, a graduate student at UW-Parkside, has found the secret to success. Malcolm, a Molecular Biology and Bioinformatics major, is studying to become a physician-scientist in hopes that he can cure the disease that his fiancé is fighting to overcome.

Ehlers Danlos Syndrome
EDS (Ehlers Danlos Syndrome) is a rare genetic disorder that affects the joints and blood vessels, and it is an illness that both Malcolm and his fiancé have. This condition causes elasticity in the joints, which can prompt almost every structure in the body to dislocate. This can mean serious repercussions for those with a severe case.
Alexa Haycraft, Malcolm’s’ fiancé, has often been in extremely critical condition. Throughout her lifetime, Haycraft has undergone multiple brain and spinal surgeries, including a complete spinal fusion.

A man on a mission
Watching his fiancé suffer has inspired Malcolm to embark on a journey of love, perseverance and salvation as he attempts to free Haycraft of her burden. “Watching the effect EDS has had on my fiancé is what inspired me to pursue this career path,” Malcolm says.
Few would argue that Malcolm is nothing short of a hero. Some would say that he is saving Haycraft but what most do not know is that she saved him too.
“It was thanks to Alexa that I found out I had EDS,” he says. “I had experienced a number of symptoms for years but I never connected the dots until she showed me the way.” Fortunately, Malcolm’s case is not as serious as Haycraft’s.
However, diagnosis is still key considering the seriousness of EDS. Malcolm’s illness has certainly not kept him down. Prior to starting college, he worked in EMS (Emergency Medical Services), during college he has performed extensive research in Dr. Daphne Pham’s laboratory and now, he has his pick of the best MD/PhD programs in the country. He is on the path to finding a cure, and he is taking his princess with him.
“The number one thing that I’d like people to know about Alexa is that she is a fighter,” he says. “Despite everything she deals with on a daily basis, she never ceases to smile. I know I speak for more than myself when I say that I find her to be an inspiration.”
Currently, Malcolm and Haycraft are looking towards the future. They hope to build a life of love, one in which they are both happy and healthy.



One thought on “Grad student researches cure for EDS”

  1. As a 20-something with EDS this is super exciting! I sincerely hope he is able to pair up with some of the leaders in EDS to do his research. Dr. Rudin at UW Health is an expert as well as a researcher, as is Dr. Wargowski- without them I never would have gotten on the right track to diagnosis and treatment. Is there any way I can follow his story/ help?


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