Prior to the onset, she was a very normal 15 year old. She was active in her school's Army JROTC program, commanding Color Guard details, Saber Team and Raider Team. She loved to play softball AND baseball, and had aspirations of being a firefighter/EMT. She was initially admitted to the hospital in February due to a memory loss. She forgot her birthday, some of her siblings (including me), school, even holidays and vacation. She has remembered and relearned a lot of what she lost, but still hasn't regained all of her memory. She has now been hospitalized 8 times since February and has begun to have additional symptoms, including constant migraines (since February) that continues down her neck and sometimes keeps her from getting out of bed at all, continued memory issues (both long and short term), balance issues (including falling and needing to be supported), blacking out, sight issues (including tunnel vision and complete loss of sight for periods of time), hearing issues, increased joint and muscle aches, among many others. Through all of this, she has remained the sweet kid that she has always been. The only thing that she complains about is missing out on being a 15 year old. On the way to the hospital the last time that she had to go, she told my dad "I should be hanging out with my friends right now instead of going back to the hospital." It is truly heartbreaking having to have to see her go through all of this and miss out on all of the memories she should be making.
In October, she will be going to the Mayo Clinic in Rochester, Minnesota for further testing and evaluation. I pray that we can get a treatment plan that will get her back to being that 15 year old kid. My dad has already used up all of his vacation time for the year and will not be receiving a paycheck while they are in Minnesota (the neurologist said to plan to be there for at least two weeks). As you can imagine, this is a very tough time for us as a family. We are all very worried and are praying that we can finally get answers at the Mayo Clinic. With a big family of seven kids, my poor dad already has enough to worry about with trying to take care of us all. Your gifts will go a long way with helping my kid sister become just that: a kid once more. Any money collected above what is needed will be donated to the International Autoimmune Encephalitis Foundation. On behalf of Sydni, my dad, myself, and all of my family, thank you for your generosity, your thoughts, and your prayers.
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