Vincent | 2017 Football Kid Captain | Blank Children's Hospital

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Vincent

Vincent loves to run, jump and play. In fact, his friends and family know that he is usually a little rowdy, and he prides himself on his ninja moves and dinosaur roars. A self-proclaimed future paleontologist, Vincent can rattle off dinosaur names and interesting facts about them. 

But on March 20, 2017, Vincent was not behaving like his normal energetic self. He complained of pain in his bones, and he was so unsteady on his feet that he began to stumble and fall flat on the floor. Knowing something was wrong, Vincent's parents rushed him to Blank Children's Hospital, where he stayed for two and a half weeks. 

Doctors ran many tests, including an MRI, spinal tap, chest x-ray, EKG, Echocardiogram, and plenty of blood tests. "We had over a week of testing and watching him decline before we were able to get a diagnosis," says Vincent's mom Jennifer. "We felt helpless."

Vincent's neurologist suggested having an Electromyogram done to confirm a diagnosis, but the doctor who usually performs the test generally does not test young children because it can be uncomfortable and requires them to stay still. With the help of Child Life, Vincent was distracted enough to stay still so the doctor could get good feedback on the test, and the neurologist was able to confirm the diagnosis: Guillian-Barre Syndrome, a rare disorder in which the body's immune system attacks the nerves. The exact cause is unknown, and there is no cure. The onset is often preceded by an infectious illness; Vincent had had strep throat in early March.

Weakness and tingling in the arms and legs are usually the syndrome's first symptoms and can quickly spread, eventually paralyzing the entire body. Doctors immediately began treatment with Immunoglobulin IV therapy and steroids. With time and twice daily work with physical and occupational therapists, Vincent began to steadily improve. 

"Those sessions were challenging," says Jennifer, "but Vincent never gave up. I was so proud to hear him go from 'I can't' to 'I'll try' and finally to 'Look what I can do!'"

Vincent's daily life now looks back to normal. He is able to run and jump around just as he had prior to having Guillain-Barre Syndrome. He loves playing outside with his sister Ava, drawing dinosaurs, and spending time with his family. 

"Vincent's diagnosis was sudden and frightening," says Jennifer. "We had wonderful support from family and friends and are very grateful for the medical staff at Blank Children's. We are beyond blessed to be able to see Vincent walk, run, and jump again!"