Flu leaves teen with rare disease, inability to walk - News, Weather, Sports, Toledo, OH

Flu leaves teen with rare disease, inability to walk

Max Clark and his mother Mary Max Clark and his mother Mary
TOLEDO, OH (Toledo News Now) -

Onefamily has been living a nightmare for the past year after their son got sickwith the flu.

MaryMatuszewski-Clark says she prays every night that one day her son Max will beable to walk again. After he got the flu a year ago, Max's life came screechingto a halt.

"Iwent to wake him up," Mary explained. "He was unresponsive. His arms and legswere ice cold, he was having difficulty breathing."

Theonce-health 17-year-old spent the next 48 days in a coma. He is now in awheelchair.

"Howcould this have happened? And how could it be so bad?" Mary asked. "For aboutfour months he had his eyes closed. It was just, ‘Where's my son? I lost myson.'"

Maxhas acute disseminated encephalomyelitis (ADEM), a rare immune condition thatinflames the brain and spinal cord. ADEM usually occurs following a viralinfection. It could take several years before Max is back on his feet.

 "I just kept saying, ‘You gonna be okay, Max,'"she said. "I had faith the whole time that God would get us through this andheal him and we would make it. And that's what's happening, little by little,he's coming back and we're grateful to God for that."

Marysays it takes hours to get Max to and from physical therapy, but awheelchair-accessible van would make things easier.

TheHave a Heart for Max Clark benefit will be held Feb. 8 at the Center forAlternative Physical Therapy. Donations will pay for a van. Donations can alsobe made at any Key Bank – mention the Mary Clark Fund.

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