That infectious smile, and voice with which we've all grown so accustomed at the moment has been incapacitated by what doctors have diagnosed as nerve damage in this right side of Jamal's face with symptoms consistent with a paralysis disorder called Bell's Palsy.
Due to the facial spasms it causes, Jamal smiles and speaks less frequently. He is unable to control any muscles on the right side of his face, so his once full bright smile is impaired to one side of his face similar to that of a someone post having a stroke. Part of his tongue is numb and gets swollen, imparing his speech, even making it difficult sometimes to do the things we all take for granted such as swallowing and tasting. He is unable to close his right eye with his own discretion leaving his eye dry, and blurring his vision at times so he now wears an eye patch or sun glasses to keep his eye sterile and avoid the sensitivity to light,dust, etc.
Yet these are are common symptoms of Bell's Palsy which affects some 20k - 200k people a year according to the internet.
Recovery is not quick, as one doctor put it "It can be anywhere from '6 weeks to 6 months'." with no certainity of whether he'll even gain back all feeling to the affected side of his face.
Jamal still has follow up appointments with his doctor and a long road to recovery that includes us exploring several medical treatments such as Physical Therapy, Facial Massages, Oil Treatments, Speech Therapy, and Accupunture amongst several other unexplored options we've researched to help get Jamal's smile and basic facial motor skills back as his livelihood depends on them.
Jamal is a fighter. He's a creative professional with a flair for public presentations. I know this won't hold his spirit back but with expiring health insurance and an impending creative campaign he has been working on due out this spring, this couldn't have come at a worst time.
I set this up asking for something I know Jamal never would, help. Donations are greatly appreciated it as we navigate the Health Care system and find solutions for Jamal beyond the muscle relief prescriptions he has already been assigned at this point in his recovery.
I hope this finds you all well. Please spread the word and raise awareness of this rare condition which affects the lives of thousands and has hit close to home for myself.
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