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The Boy In The Bubble (A Poem Dedicated to David Vetter)

John is passionate about human and animal rights, social justice, equality, and the environment, and likes to convey that in his writing.

the-boy-in-the-bubble

The Boy In The Bubble


Poor little boy

Wrapped in cotton wool.

Can't play outside,

No interaction.


Confined to a bubble,

Never experienced nature,

Laid on the grass,

Or smelt the flowers.


Never felt sun on his skin,

Or the wind in his hair,

Had a pet to hold,

Or friend to play with.


Poor little boy,

Will never travel,

Allergic to life,

His world in a bubble.

The Real Story

This was a true story of a little boy who lived virtually his whole life inside a sterile plastic bubble, waiting for a cure for his fatal immune disease (SCID) that, tragically, never came.

The world knew him as “the boy in the bubble,” or simply as David. People watched his life unfold on TV during the 70s and 80s as he grew up inside his special bubble and isolated from the germ filled outside world. The news always covered his birthdays, and because of this he captured hearts worldwide.

Sadly, David died at age 12, not from the disease, but after complications of a, then experimental, bone-marrow transplant.

His surname, Vetter, wasn't released publicly until ten years after his death in an attempt to protect his privacy and that of his family as much as was possible.

Today, approximately 40 years on, thanks to therapy made possible in part thanks to David's own blood cells, kids with Severe Combined Immunodeficiency Disease (SCID), are able to lead normal and healthy lives.

Comments

John Hansen (author) from Queensland Australia on January 11, 2015:

Yes Nell, I heard about it as a child and saw the movie with John Travolta..have never been able to get it completely out of my head. It was a very sad situation. After all the trouble they went to to keep,him alive and his years in a bubble to die from a complication was sad. Thanks for reading.

Nell Rose from England on January 11, 2015:

I remember that story so well, poor little guy, I had not thought of him for such a long time, so sad what happened to him, nell

John Hansen (author) from Queensland Australia on January 11, 2015:

Glad I could fit the final piece into the puzzle for you Mary. Thank you for reading, the vote up and share.

Mary Hyatt from Florida on January 11, 2015:

This was very interesting. I never knew what happened to the "boy in the bubble", now I know. What a tragic life this poor boy had.

Voted UP, etc. and shared.

John Hansen (author) from Queensland Australia on May 14, 2014:

Thanks for reading and for your kind comment Truthfornow. Glad you liked the poem, and yes it is good that his life wasn't in vain, but eventually helped others.

Marie Hurt from New Orleans, LA on May 14, 2014:

Yes, I remember hearing about this story. I love the poem that you have before the article. So sad. Important to remember. Glad that those impacted today have a better life.

John Hansen (author) from Queensland Australia on May 14, 2014:

Thank you Ologsinquito, it was such a touching story.

ologsinquito from USA on May 13, 2014:

What a beautiful tribute to this boy. I remember hearing about him as well.

John Hansen (author) from Queensland Australia on May 07, 2014:

Thanks for reading this mythbuster and commenting. I had remembered seeing the movie years ago, and the Paul Simon song, and decided to write a tribute hub to David Vetter to remember his legacy.

mythbuster from Utopia, Oz, You Decide on May 07, 2014:

Nice tribute hub. I've seen the 70's movie about David Vetter, played by a young John Travolta. I saw the show when I was a teen but recently watched it again on TV when it was on. I felt sad both as a teen and now that David had so little normality in his life due to his health condition and living literally in a bubble that mostly cut him off from everything in the world. I'm glad some research during and immediately following his short life led to better solutions and options for others who have the same condition David was born with.

John Hansen (author) from Queensland Australia on April 08, 2014:

Thank you Genna. I just felt David's legacy deserved another tribute.

Genna East from Massachusetts, USA on April 08, 2014:

An inspiring poem about a true story. I remember reading about David some time ago. How heartening it is to realize that children with this deficiency can now lead normal lives…thanks, in part, to David. Well done, John.

John Hansen (author) from Queensland Australia on April 08, 2014:

It will always be sad to remember this, especially his death due to the operation and not his condition. Thanks for reading Michael.

Michael-Milec on April 07, 2014:

Hi Jodah.

Even as keenly as your poem reminds us of the "poor little boy ", can not diminish memory of sad and painful "why ?". Why?

Voted interesting.

Shalom.

John Hansen (author) from Queensland Australia on April 06, 2014:

Thanks Wayne, mine too.. :).

Wayne Barrett from Clearwater Florida on April 06, 2014:

Well said. I remember watching this story (shows my age, eh?) Thank you for highlighting an area of struggle and advancement. Very nice work.

John Hansen (author) from Queensland Australia on April 05, 2014:

Thanks for reading Alicia. It is some small comfort that at least his difficult life and sad ending did benefit others.

Linda Crampton from British Columbia, Canada on April 05, 2014:

Thank you for reminding us of David's sad story, Jodah. What I find both happy and sad is your last sentence. I am very happy that people with David's condition can now be helped but sad that he didn't live to benefit from the treatment. However, he left a wonderful legacy in the form of his blood cells!

John Hansen (author) from Queensland Australia on April 05, 2014:

Thank you Devika. It's always a pleasure to have you read my hubs.

Devika Primić from Dubrovnik, Croatia on April 05, 2014:

So beautifully put together your title got me thinking of that story all over again

John Hansen (author) from Queensland Australia on April 05, 2014:

My pleasure to share this Phyllis. I could still remember hearing the story as a child and later saw the John Travolta movie about it. It has always been in the back of my mind, and off the bat decided to write a short poem about him.

Phyllis Doyle Burns from High desert of Nevada. on April 05, 2014:

Jodah, your poem and story is great and very helpful to bring to light SCID. It is also a wonderful tribute to a brave little boy who lived his life one day at a time. I remember reading about him with each update that was written while he was alive. Thanks for sharing this story.

John Hansen (author) from Queensland Australia on April 05, 2014:

Thank you for reading this Peg. It was an amazing but sad true story. Glad you found it interesting, and yes it was good that he left a legacy to help others.

Peg Cole from Northeast of Dallas, Texas on April 05, 2014:

Thanks for bringing this story into the light. What an amazing and sad story of this poor child. Glad to see that his cells were useful in helping to find a remedy.

John Hansen (author) from Queensland Australia on April 05, 2014:

Thanks for reading Flourish. Yes I saw it on TV as a child myself, but it has stayed with me all the time. I didn't realize he was the only child to have ever been placed in a bubble like this, but apparently so. yes , it was a sad story.

FlourishAnyway from USA on April 05, 2014:

I remember seeing his case on tv as a kid but didn't recall what happened to him -- such a sad situation. Your poem describes his isolated world very well.

John Hansen (author) from Queensland Australia on April 05, 2014:

Thanks sujaya.

Hi Ghaelach, thanks for reading this. Yes it sure does make you appreciate the life you have.

Ghaelach on April 05, 2014:

Morning John.

Remember the story well.

Most people can't come to grips with not being able to touch, feel, see, or smell the things in your poem.

Unfortunately there are some of us that have this problem. Thanks for reminding me/us how lucky I/we really are.

Ghaelach

sujaya venkatesh on April 05, 2014:

true jo

John Hansen (author) from Queensland Australia on April 05, 2014:

Thanks Frank. It was about 30 to 40 years ago, but it still touches hearts.

Frank Atanacio from Shelton on April 05, 2014:

you did the story true justice Jodah bravo...:)

John Hansen (author) from Queensland Australia on April 05, 2014:

Yes Blossom, hearing about these stories make us thankful. I appreciate your comment.

Bronwen Scott-Branagan from Victoria, Australia on April 04, 2014:

How sad and isolated his life must have been. Thank you for writing about this dreadful disease. We are so blessed when our children are healthy.

John Hansen (author) from Queensland Australia on April 03, 2014:

Hi Stages Of Me, yes I am sure he is up there having a great time and making up for what he missed out of in life. Thanks for your comment.

Kathy Henderson from Pa on April 03, 2014:

Jodah

Such a sad little face, so isolated, I imagine him running free in heaven going everywhere, hugging all day long. Good song too ~ Blessings

John Hansen (author) from Queensland Australia on April 03, 2014:

Thanks for reading vocalcoach. Yes it helps us appreciate how blessed we are.

Audrey Hunt from Idyllwild Ca. on April 03, 2014:

I, too saw this film. I felt so bad for this boy. Something like this sure makes us wake up and count our many blessings. Nicely done Jodah.

John Hansen (author) from Queensland Australia on April 03, 2014:

Thank you for your kind comment, share and pin Faith. Bless you.

Faith Reaper from southern USA on April 03, 2014:

I remember the boy in the bubble too, so sad. However, I did not know about his blood cells helped future children to live normal lives! How amazing. Your poem captured his life and is heartrending.

Thank you for reminding us about this precious little boy.

Up and more, tweeting, pinning and sharing

Bless you,

Faith Reaper

John Hansen (author) from Queensland Australia on April 03, 2014:

Thank you Bill, you were quick commenting today. I can't imagine that it was much of a life, but I guess his family did the best they could.

H Jackie, thanks for reading. Yes it was a sad story. I hadn't thought about it in ages...then suddenly had an urge to write a poem about it...weird.

Jackie Lynnley from the beautiful south on April 03, 2014:

I did a story on this years ago when I first come here! It is a really sad story.

Bill Holland from Olympia, WA on April 03, 2014:

I remember that story well; you captured it beautifully. What an existence, huh? I can't imagine.