Fifteen is such an awkward age. Your body is growing; you might not have gotten past the clumsy, gawky, gangly stage yet.
You’ve started to look at the opposite gender with something more than vague interest. Maybe you’re worried about your driver’s test or thinking about applying for your first job.
These concerns seem huge until they are juxtaposed against the trials and tribulations of someone like Samantha Chase, who has transverse myelitis (TM).
According to Juneau Empire, Samantha came home one morning after a sleepover with a pain in her back. Figuring she slept wrong, Samantha continued about her day. Surely, this would work its way out.
Later, her arms started to feel heavy. Her shoulders were burning. Despite treatment, the pain persisted. Eventually, her legs went weak and numb. Terrified, her parents called 911, but because they lived in rural southeastern Alaska, they needed assistance.
A friend of the family with a plane took Samantha to the state’s capital—the nearest location with a major hospital. She continued to deteriorate. Finally, she was flown to Seattle, where she stayed for a month in the city’s children’s hospital. The Seattle doctors recognized the symptoms, diagnosed her with transverse myelitis, and began her treatment.
Transverse myelitis is a neurological disease that causes inflammation in the spinal cord resulting in weakness, pain, and muscular dysfunction throughout the body.
There are numerous treatment options.
The treatment worked as the progression of the disease halted. However, there was already severe damage to Samantha’s nervous system. She was confined to a bed for weeks on end before physical therapy helped her regain some control.
Today, she has limited use of her arms and hands. She will need more therapy and time before she regains the strength to stand.
One of the best pieces of equipment for recovery, a type of recumbent bicycle that works both the arms and legs, is not available in Juneau.
The hospital has wanted one of these bikes for a number of years. They are generating capitol to purchase one that works only the legs. However, the community is working diligently to raise the $40,000 to purchase the multi-purpose bike.
Everyone from Samantha’s hometown is getting involved in the fundraising. The mayor, local business owners, and even private citizens are pledging and donating hundreds, and in some cases, thousands.
With a little bit of luck, Samantha will be able to use a bike in Juneau soon and continue on her path to recovery.
Read more about Samantha by clicking here.