Mom Says Son's Life Was Saved Because of Facebook

Filed under: In The News

Deborah Copaken Kogan joined Facebook back in 2008, after her son was being bullied, and officials at his school suggested she monitor his page. But the social media site eventually became a sort of community for the New York mom -- and, she tells "Today," even saved her 4 -year-old son Leo's life.

"It was Mother's Day morning, Sunday morning, and Leo woke up with a rash," Copaken Kogan tells the news show. "I thought, oh, great, he got strep, we've got to go to the doctor. I'm waiting in the waiting room, feeling a little bored. I snapped the photo of my son -- and he was putting his blankie over his face -- and I said something like, 'Nothing says happy Mother's Day like a Sunday morning at the pediatrician."

The doctor agreed that it was likely strep -- the illness was going around his classroom, as well -- and gave her a prescription for amoxicillin.

"I thought great, we're done, he'll be better by tomorrow," she tells "Today."

When Leo hadn't got better by day three, Copaken Kogan posted another photo of her boy on Facebook.

"I said, I'm very concerned, you know, my kid looks very sick," she tells the news show. "Within the first hour of posting this photo, (I had) three friends telling me to go to the hospital, it could be Kawasaki disease. And once I got the strep culture and it came back negative, I just thought, that's it, I'm going. And I just called my doctor."

Copaken Kogan tells "Today" those Facebook messages were a catalyst.

"They said to me, here's the collective experience of 1,400 people, three of whom are telling me it could be Kawasaki disease, a very rare autoimmune disorder I had never heard (that) about effects 3,000 kids a year in the United States," she tells the show. "Many cases of Kawasaki disease don't actually get diagnosed until the fifth day, sixth day, because these symptoms mimic so many other illnesses."

Today, Leo is recovering, although his mom tells the news show his liver is still damaged and may take a year or so to regenerate. But she says he'll be fine.

"The fact that these friends on Facebook took a risk and said, 'sorry for butting in, but I think this could be Kawasaki,' was a miracle," Copaken Kogan tells "Today."

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Start by teaching him that it is safe to do so.