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I’m Tom Fowler. Many of you have followed the two-year journey and prayed for my stepdaughter, Lizzy McDaniel, whose health has taken a sudden turn for the worst and whose life is in jeopardy. We are optimistic that her current medical team at Duke Hospital will be successful in treating Lizzy.  She is a beautiful, caring soul who simply wants to return to her life’s path. This episode, the second since early 2016, began January 22 of this year. Physicians at Duke have advised us that without swift and aggressive treatment catatonia can be fatal.

Jean and I have been with Lizzy both day and night and will remain so. Though we’re not medical professionals, we have noted characteristics similar to those Lizzy experienced at the Medical University of South Carolina (MUSC) in 2016. Duke is using 1090 pages of records from MUSC.  The medical teams at Duke are aggressively treating Lizzy with all the tools. at their disposal.  Today a crisis team came to her room when her heart rate spiked.  It is better now. We live each hour by faith.

Our family appeals for funds and prayers to sustain care for Lizzy during this critical period.  Additional support would help to offset over $13,000 in remaining medical bills from her lengthy stay at MUSC in 2016. So many of you have given your compassion, prayers, and support for which we are deeply grateful. We now ask for your participation and support to be directed at spreading the word of Lizzy’s battle for life.  We have been slow to update you, as Jean and I have been providing Lizzy with comfort and encouragement, as well as arranging and advocating for her medical care. Lizzy is the daughter of Jean and David McDaniel (1954-1995), the granddaughter of Rev. Dr. Harry and Mrs. Ree Chandler. Jean and I married ten years ago.

As some may recall, Lizzy is a poet and a scholar who earned a master’s degree from The New School in New York City. She’s 34, published, given readings in the city and called one of the best contemporary poets in America in the book, “Like Musical Instruments”. In early 2016, she was pursuing her doctoral path at Columbia University’s Paris Global Campus when she experienced worsening severe headaches, dizziness, and confusion.  

Lizzy returned home in search of effective treatment after doctors in Paris were unable to assist her. In early October of 2016,  Lizzy experienced sudden, profound seizures. The seizures triggered an extended stay in the acute neurological unit at MUSC. During most of this hospitalization, Lizzy could neither speak nor move. We were repeatedly advised to prepare for the worst. A physician said, “It’s in God’s hands”. Without a precise diagnosis, a course of treatment, deemed experimental by some, commenced. Slowly, Lizzy regained a degree of speech and movement. Finally, Lizzy improved sufficiently to be discharged from MUSC so that we could all return to our home in Sunset Beach, NC.  During 2017, Lizzy began the steps required to reclaim her life under continuing care from her doctor.

Following the advice of her Wilmington doctor, two weeks ago, Lizzy was hospitalized for three days at Duke Hospital to with neurologists who ordered an extensive battery of tests; not all results of these tests are not yet available. She was discharged back to our small, but caring hospital near Sunset Beach, NC, waiting for test results when a sudden reversal in her condition necessitated a rapid return her to Duke, one of the nation’s premier healthcare centers.

We will update you with news of this extraordinary young woman, now struggling to return to a productive life with support from Duke’s extraordinary medical resources.  She is young, brilliant and unyielding in her quest to reestablish a productive life.  We pray her treatment at Duke’s world-class hospital will identify and effectively treat the illness. Lizzy is a compassionate, loving soul whose only desire is to resume her life’s promising goals. Thank you so much for your continuing support, caring, and prayers.
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Tom Fowler 
Sunset Beach, NC
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