Halloween 2012 wasn’t scary for the Saunders family of Evans, but the days that followed were.
Alexander Saunders, then age 2, was a bit lethargic when he awoke on Nov. 1, and he began running a low-grade fever.
“He was a little fussy, which was unusual for him,” said his mother, Ashley Saunders. “He couldn’t stand up on his own from a sitting or lying position.”
Alexander began to experience limited use of his left arm, and by the night of Nov. 2, he couldn’t use either arm.
“It’s a parent’s worst nightmare,” said Tom Saunders. “Our child was really sick and getting weaker by the minute, and we didn’t know what was causing it.”
Alexander’s pediatricians sent the family to Children’s Hospital of Georgia, where specialists ran numerous tests, and Pediatric Neurologist Dr. Elizabeth Sekul made the diagnosis.
“Alexander had acute disseminated encephalomyelitis, a brief but widespread attack of inflammation in the brain and spinal cord that damages myelin – the protective covering of nerve fibers,” said Sekul. “ADEM is rare, so it’s not something we would routinely test for. Fortunately, we were able to rule out other possibilities and quickly administer medications to stop the attack and minimize the damage.”
Now 3, Alexander has physical and occupational therapy twice a week at CHOG and once a week at the Family Y pool as he works to regain full use of both arms.
“He’s come a long way,” said Ashley Saunders.
Alexander’s story and those of other patients will be shown during the 2013 Children’s Miracle Network Hospitals Celebration, a telethon that will broadcast live from the CHOG lobby from noon to 6 p.m. Sunday, June 2 on WRDW-TV News 12. The event celebrates the funds raised this year by partners and donors to benefit programs and services at CHOG, the area’s only children’s hospital. The broadcast will include video tours of the hospital; conversations with patients, donors and staff; and recognition of committed partners and supporters. Viewers also will get a look at the specialized care at CHOG.
Hospital staff, local volunteers and celebrities from News 12 will man the WOW-provided phone bank, accepting donations for the hospital during the fundraiser. The one-day telethon brought in about $17,500 in donations last year. For more information on the broadcast, visit www.wrdw.com/community/CMN.
To make a donation to the Children’s Hospital, call (706) 922-5437 (KIDS) or toll free at (866) 412-5437 (KIDS), or visit www.
A total of $787,400 in Children’s Miracle Network funds were raised in 2012 for the not-for-profit children’s hospital, which has been a beneficiary of CMN since 1986.