LOVE DOESN'T GIVE UP
I came across an article in the paper this week that had the heading "A Mother's Love and Determination." And the subtitle "Refusing to give up, Cynthia Teare helped her son to walk again." I caught my attention because out theme today is "Love is... determined."
It's the story of an 11-year-old boy called Connor and his mother Cynthia. When Connor was just a toddler his muscles began growing increasingly rigid, and it became harder and harder for him to move. He went from leg braces to a walker, and finally, by the time he was five years old, he was in a wheelchair.
He said, "I tried to walk like the other kids ... but I just couldn’t do it." His mother, Cynthia as all mothers would do, took him to a million different doctors but not one of them could figure out what was wrong. She said, "I was scared, and I was frightened and I was trying not to let him see that I was frightened. But inside... the biggest thing was we didn’t know what it was. Nobody knew what he had."
Some of the doctors told her that there may never be an answer, but she said, "I couldn’t settle for that, I refused to accept that." So she spent hour, after hour, day after day, week after week, month after month, year after year, painfully scouring the Internet for answers.
And then one day she came across an exceptionally rare disorder that she thought might explain Connor’s condition. And she wrote a letter to Dr Irwin Jacobs who is a prominent pediatric neurologist. He said that her letter left him stunned. He said, "I mean, here’s somebody suggesting a disorder, and I’ve never seen this disorder." It’s called Dopa Responsive Dystonia, and it disrupts how the brain communicates with muscles in the body. Even though Connor did not have some of the classic symptoms of this condition, Dr Jacobs agreed to give him the appropriate medication to see if it would help.
Within days, Connor's condition started to improve. Slowly, his muscles began moving more easily. He could hold on and walk a few steps, and get in and out of chairs--things he hadn't been able to do in years.
He said, "I was sitting in the chair in the kitchen one day and ... I feel like I can stand, I start holding onto the furniture and I start walking." His mum said, "By the second day ... he stood at the kitchen sink and washed his hands, standing. That was monumental."
Today, Connor spends his free time on the basketball court shooting hoops, thanks to daily medication and one determined mother. She did for her son what a dozen doctors could not; she found a way to free her child from years in a wheelchair.
"I think she deserves all the credit," Dr Jacobs said. "Had she given up at any time ... had she not been so insistent about trying to find a reason why her son had this difficulty, Connor would still be in a wheelchair."
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