Rare Disease Temporarily Paralyzes 8-Year-Old

GROSSE ILE (WWJ) – An eight-year-old Grosse Ile boy is re-learning to walk after he was paralyzed by a rare disease.  WWJ’s Sandra McNeill reports…it can start with something simple as a cold.

Yvette Johnson wasn’t concerned when her 8-year-old son Landon fell ill with what seemed to be a common childhood illness — but it was soon obvious that this was something different.

“Right after he was diagnosed with pneumonia I was rubbing his legs and he said, ‘ouch, that hurts,’ and when I touched the bottom of his feet it was hyper-sensitive. That was probably the start of it all, when it started affecting his spine” said Yvette Johnson.

Landon’s doctor says he developed Transverse Myelitis … a condition where the antibodies produced to fight one illness … even the common cold, turn on the body and attack the spine.  Landon was paralyzed.

“He couldn’t walk, he had trouble moving his legs … simple things like moving his toes … he was really struggling with moving his toes,” said Yvette.

In one-third of the cases, that condition is permanent, but Landon’s prognosis is good.  Still, it’s a long recovery.

“I can’t run, I can’t do jumping jacks, most of all I can’t even swim yet,” said Landon. “Let’s just say I miss my Wii, my DS, my computer and my bed.”

There are several severe cases of the disease which come to the Children’s Hospital each year.

More from Sandra McNeill

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