Someone said, "I don't know how you do it". I said "I wasn't given a choice"
Close your eyes. Take yourself back to when you were a small child. Can you see your favorite television show you watched hours on end? Walk in to your Nana's kitchen. Can you smell that food you always loved to eat? Can you see your little legs running through that kitchen? Keep your eyes closed. Do you taste those warm peanut butter cookies? Now go run outside. Keep running. Can you hear the laughter of your family or neighborhood kids playing out there with you? Do you remember what you loved to do the most? What about who or what you wanted to be when your grew up?
Don't open your eyes yet.
Maybe you wanted to be like Mike and rule the basketball court like a king. Hearing the crowd cheering "Mike! Mike! Mike!"
Your smiling aren't you! Keep your eyes closed.
Suddenly you see yourself on a hospital bed, everyone is around you. There is so much noise and talking and beeping. Its not the score board. It doesn't sound like cheering. Everything you see is going blurry. Your watching and listening but it all sounds so muffled. Immediately, everything goes black.
Now imagine you being that very same child, watching everything you just replayed in your mind. Except, while you are watching, you are bound to a wheelchair unable to speak or walk.
Sometimes you have an actual person to battle against- sometimes, your opponent is less concrete- a disease or disability.
Andre Carson was a active, Paw Patrolling, cookie eating little boy who ran free with the magic and wonder of your typical 3 year old. Most days you would find him with a basketball in hand. Andre wanted to be like Stephen Curry from the Golden State Warriors. Although the warriors was deeply rooted as a fan favorite for the family- Warrior has become more to the family then just their favorite basketball team.
Warriors don't fight because they want to. They fight because they have to. Warriors don't give up and they don't back down.
Andre contracted the flu and life for this vibrant boy has been changed forever. Influenza caused his brain to swell and caused him to develop Acute Necrotizing Encephalapthy. He spent 11 days in the PICU and 2 month in rehab. He is currently active in both physical therapy and speech therapy to regain what FLU took away from him. Andre is one of the first African Americans to develop ANEC. This disease is a very rare disease and has a high morality rate of just 30% surviving. We are so happy to say he is in that 30%! Recently turning 4 years old he has beat statistics and hasn't back down from the fight.
I'd like to say, Andre is a Fighting Warrior. There is a quote I read that says, "There is a fine line between a fighter and a warrior. One lives to fight and the other fights to live. One motivated by reason, the other by purpose. This boy has beat the odds. Don't read that sentence too loosely. While Andre is working his way to recovery your outcome may not be as exciting.
"Don't think it cant happen to you" said Rene Parrish, Andre's Nana "Our entire life changed over night just from what we though was just a cold". "Turns out, flu did this to my grandson". "Please get your flu shot"
The CDC recommends everyone ages 6 months and older to receive a flu vaccine each and every flu season. This season, think about Andre while you debate on whether you FEEL like getting vaccinated or while you FEEL inconvenienced during your busy schedule to take time out to get your flu shot. Think about you saving someone like him. So while you wonder how he gets through his days now that flu has forever changed the shape of his life, remember, he wasn't given the choice. If Andre contracts influenza again it could be deadly. Protect you and everyone around you!
For more information about Andre's journey and rehabilitation please visit the link below. He has been accepted into intensive rehab at NAPA therapy center in LA and because it is an experimental treatment, insurance does not cover any expenses for or related to this process.