My nephew Joshua Felt has always been a selfless, fun and loving young man; who always gave up his time to help anyone in need.
Josh was always vibrant, full of life and was the type of person that people were drawn to. He was also involved in clubs at school that focused on people in need. We all had full confidence that Josh was going to be successful in achieving anything he set his mind to, so much, that Joshua completed a very successful semester at College prior to the change that would completely affect his life.
In 2013, everything changed dramatically for this once energetic and larger than life young man. Josh was almost 20 years of age, whilst in Virginia, when he was bitten by a tick. He and many didn’t think much of it at the time. In spite of feeling ill, Joshua returned to College giving it all that he had left, but Joshua could not focus on reading a simple paragraph or solve problems that he could during his first time at College and thus returned home for further medical attention.
Time progressed and Joshua was feeling weighed down and unwell with aches, flu like symptoms and some memory issues coupled with confusion and insomnia. It soon became apparent that something very serious was wrong.
Josh could no longer complete simple tasks. He was unable to communicate properly; he had difficulty moving as this caused severe muscle and joint pain. This boy who once ran varsity for his high school as well as swimming on the school swim team could now barely make it up the stairs. His weight shrunk to a 138 pounds (62.5kg) and we were alarmed by the dramatic weight loss. He had trouble keeping food down, struggled with reading due to eye inflammation and suffered greatly in many ways. Then there were seizures and extreme migraines, tremors and sharp pains that migrated. He had trouble with cognitive memory, driving and even showering. Even the simplest of tasks became the hardest hills to climb. The fatigue is particularly difficult. The mystery of Josh’s illness continued to evade Medical Specialists.
Finally, after a couple years of misdiagnosis and a diagnosis of celiac disease, it was discovered that Josh had contracted Lyme disease caused by the tick, which was infected with the Borrelia burgdorferi virus that is a spirochete bacteria infection. In effect, this bacteria burrows deep into the brain, joint and heart organs.
This disease is called the “Great Imitator” with approximately 350 different symptoms. Babesia is one of them, a cousin of malaria, which Josh was also infected with from the same infected tick. This of course makes it extremely difficult to diagnose. Unfortunately, Josh has suffered with most of these symptoms at one time or another.
Joshua has suffered for amost 5 years, unable to work or study. Each day he is administered IV antibiotics and in addition a weekly visit from the nurse to clean and redress. When he feels up to it Joshua is serving and helping others and particularly loves visiting with the elderly in nursing homes. This is Josh. He feels so very sick, nevertheless, he still reaches out to others. He is kind, loving and puts others above himself with always a kind word for everyone.
Is there hope for Josh? We have to believe there is! We have to try to restore this beautiful and handsome young man to his active and meaningful life again. All we have left at this stage is hope.
There is a treatment in Germany with amazing success rates. This treatment is called Hyperthermia. This treatment involves heating the body to a temperature that kills this stealth bacteria infection. He must stay 3 weeks in Germany to receive treatment and also therapy to rebuild his immune system, which is almost non-existent at this stage. This treatment is of course very expensive. All funds raised will be used for 3 weeks of treatment, accomadation , flights from Dallas to Germany and post treatment including medications. Josh’s family have tried absolutely everything in the last 4 years at a considerable cost to help support and provide the best medical attention and treatment to sustain him since leaving college.
This is the last hope for Josh to fight this debilitating disease and his only chance at living a happy and meaningful life again.
Please help this special and cherished young man raise the necessary funds so he can fight for life and live it again.
For more information about Lyme, please visit https://www.lymedisease.org/lyme-basics/lyme-disease/about-lyme/
- St Margaret's School Sarah Pay
- Madison Martin
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