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The Manu Ajamu Williams Story

Everyone comes across an article every once in a while that touches them, or makes them pause during their very busy lives to question their own overall health and the inevitable “what ifs?” This story is precisely one of those examples of cherishing every day you have on this planet, because you truly never know what tomorrow can bring.

Manu Ajamu Williams was by no stretch a man that came across as unhealthy by any sort; in fact the towering muscle-bound fitness guru was the polar opposite. The Chicago native was a beloved employee of the healthcare profession, and made each day at work count with every patient he came across. He was committed so much so that it wasn’t uncommon for him to receive letters of thanks from his patients and their families for his attention to detail and kind nature. Seems like the ideal life, doesn’t it? Happy in his career, took his health seriously, had a well-groomed physique, and no shortage of love in his life; so how could anyone have imagined something tragic would take his life so suddenly?

The nightmare began in 2002, when Manu fainted while at work due to complications from a broken ankle. He suffered the ankle incident just a month earlier, and it resulted in developing blood clots inside his lungs causing the 300lb man to literally collapse. He was hospitalized for roughly a week, with his medical team confidently discharging him with blood thinners as a main form of treatment going forward.

Just as this blood clot issue seemed to be a one-off infraction, it reared its ugly head yet again in 2008. This time, Manu required surgery to remove an abscess that developed in his lower thigh area. Just following the surgery, he became very vocal with his doctors that he was still experiencing quite a bit of pain even after the abscess was removed. He feared the pain was all too similar to that blood clot pain he had already experienced back in 2002. Even with his concerns, he was assured all was fine and discharged. Not one week passes and once again Manu is raced to the emergency room. He was suffering from blood clots entering the lungs for the second time, but this wasn’t as simple as the first incident. This time he had 8 clots inside the lungs, some located extremely close to his heart. After two weeks in the hospital and medications, he returned home on a blood thinner treatment.

It appears that a pattern with these clots was developing inside Manu’s lungs every 6 years; low and behold it was 2014 {another 6 years after his last clot} and he was feeling those very same suspicions of blood clots beginning with severe leg pain. After consulting with his medical team, they advise him he has merely pulled a hamstring and casually sent him home. A few weeks went by, and he passed out again after suffering from difficulty breathing. He was rushed to the hospital and sadly lost his battle to a blood clot that entered the heart that afternoon on September 28th, 2014.

Manu was only 36 years old.

Prevention is key to surviving blood clot episodes, and education is absolutely vital:

  • Never ignore pain or swelling in the leg or pelvis. {These are the most common areas for clots to form prior to travelling to the lungs or heart}
  • Learn your genetic history to notify your medical provider of any possible clotting patterns
  • Smoking and obesity can encourage clotting to develop
  • Always investigate chest pains, shortness of breath, or trouble breathing
  • Advise your doctor if you pass out, often they can determine the cause if related to clotting
  • Women are at higher risk for clotting due to hormonal changes/menstrual cycles

For some additional information read our “10 Signs and Symptoms of a Blood Clot”

Roughly 150,000 patients die annually in the United States from blood clots. Every few minutes someone loses their life across the globe as a result of clotting; this is a very critical medical problem that must be addressed with the first onset of symptoms.

Manu effected those in his life tremendously; we would like to commend Christina Martin for bringing this impactful story to our attention and working diligently following Manu’s passing to educate others of this deadly illness. Her efforts shine through spreading the word of the successful “Stop the Clot” campaign, and by raising contributions for the National Blood Clot Alliance.

To join Christina in her latest 5K in loving memory of Manu Ajamu Williams, or to donate please visit:

Details for the upcoming 2015 event:

May 10th, 2015

9:00 AM

Montrose Beach/4400 N. Lake Shore Drive- Chicago