My name is Catch and I’m a 16-year old game developer. This campaign is my way of giving respect to my parents, Mom and Dad. I am only asking for a dollar so I expect that raising funds will not be an issue, I’m looking at you, Grandma. ;) However, I do want this GoFundMe to be shared and go viral because I want the world to know what my parents have done for me and what other families like mine have to go through just to have happy moments like the one in the photo above.
I have an illness called PANS Syndrome and even though doctors have known of its existence for decades there is still an extremely high rate of misdiagnosing it as being Autism. Imagine if you could cure Autism. Well, PANS syndrome is curable but not if treatment is delayed for too long. My parents were given the wrong diagnosis for my condition twice. The first time it was Autism. And the second time it was Aspergers. The reason being is that PANS syndrome has autistic-like symptoms however they worsen and change over time because it really is an infection causing severe brain inflammation. And of course all brain damage sustained while untreated becomes permanent and eventually, the appropriate treatment will no longer work.
When I was 14 my Dad kept on saying that I am the funniest kid he knows which made me think, I couldn’t possibly be on the autism spectrum. So I did my own research and discovered that my symptoms are more in line with PANDAS syndrome which is caused by a strep infection. However, my parents are adamant that I never had strep throat which is the primary cause, so then the diagnosis defaults to PANS syndrome where the cause is unknown.
If you have followed me this far then this is where it gets dark. My symptoms are all due to brain damage caused by an infection that conceals itself in my brain. My bodies immune system wants to attack it but its slowly being trained to attack my brain instead. Since my brain controls my Autonomic Nervous System my whole body has gone out of control. Which includes seizures, strange motor tics, extreme OCD, verbal tics, uncontrollable rage, not to mention my insides feel like they’re upside down.
But wait there’s more. My parents have sacrificed everything and I do mean everything to go all in on helping me realize my passion to become a game developer. Because of my autistic-like symptoms, kids like me are more adept to become coders and we love playing video games. Sounds similar to other kids my age however for us it's our survival mechanism or happy place. Well, maybe that's really similar too.
I have my routine every morning where my mom makes me a cup of tea and gets my computer ready. She sits next to me throughout the day while I code. I have seizures while coding so she is there to hold me during them so that I don’t accidentally delete what I have already done. Even though my OCD does make me delete lines of code on purpose multiple times before I can move on. Geesh… I can’t catch a break.
My dad and brothers provide me with art to create the games around. However, they are way ahead of me at the moment because my condition is getting worse. They have a huge amount of patience and I am very grateful for that.
We do have moments for laughter so it's not all bad. Again, mad respect to all of the PANDAS/PANS parents out there for keeping it together for us kids! If we get more than a dollar (after taxes and processing fees) then I pledge to keep spreading awareness of this illness for as long as I am able. Also, I just might create the most amazing indie games that you have ever played if given the chance.
If I dare to dream big without any limitations I would really like to take my family to Disney World to visit the new Star Wars park and put my parents through Jedi training camp, record it, and put it up on YouTube, but that may be dreaming a bit too big. ;)