Below, I am sharing photos of Nate to show the decline in his health over the years. When he was younger his sweet voice, curly blonde hair and expressive personality would light up a room! He was full of life, dreams and ambitions. Nate loved to play soccer, basketball, and he rode his bike every day. He loved to go for walks and make fun, creative things to do with his two younger brothers, Luke and Levi. He lived for swimming in Lake Michigan. He wanted to learn how to shoot a manual camera like his mom and loved playing the trombone.
He never felt quite right though, since he was bit by a tick in 2009. At that time, we knew nothing of the dangers of a tick bite or what Lyme and co-infections were capable of doing. There was no rash, no fever, but he did complain of seeing flashes of light, felt unexplained vibrations, heard ringing in his ears and he suffered from ADD and OCD.
In 2013, we noticed Nate would shake his head when he was overstimulated, especially when he was watching tv. Our daughter took Nate to a Neurologist (who was not Lyme literate.) He diagnosed Nate with Tourette's and ADD. He was put on a medication that calmed the hyper-activity down and the tick went away. He was not the same kid though. We missed his energy and light. There were also lingering symptoms that concerned us.
In 2014, his mother became very ill for the second time since 2010. That time it nearly killed her. Thankfully, an Igenex Lyme test came back positive and antibiotics saved her life, although she is still treating today. The doctors realized Nate could also be dealing with Late Stage Neurological Lyme Disease. He was diagnosed and began antibiotics immediately. He was able to function for the first year after diagnosis. This, however, has not been enough to keep the disease from progressing.
After 6th grade, Nate became too ill to attend school. He's been doing homeschool for the past two years, but greatly misses his friends and being a "normal," healthy kid. Our goal is to get Nate well enough to attend school and enjoy his friends again. He is missing his childhood and it completely breaks our hearts!
Nate cannot make it through a day of school as he falls asleep from needing so much sleep and has so many terrible symptoms. He also lost his stamina. He cannot do sports at all or it causes him to faint or have heart fluctuations. He wakes up out of breath and always exhausted. He is pale and very thin and no matter how much he eats, he cannot gain weight. We have tried to set up times to hang out with old friends, but he simply doesn’t have the energy for it. It is heartbreaking to see how our sweet, light-hearted grandson has transformed into a meek, soft-spoken young man. That’s all the energy he can muster.
We are hoping every moment to see his spirit perk up again and get back to himself! We love him so much and want him to be healthy and happy!! The reality is that we are scared and desperately need to get him the right treatment. No child should ever have to suffer the way Nate has and families should not have to worry or wonder how they are going to pay for medical treatment.
Please help us however you can. We greatly appreciate any of your support! A donation, sharing this fundraiser, and your prayers - we are so grateful for it all!
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- Brandy Van Kampen
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