We are all survivors of autoimmune encephalitis. Patients, families, friends, caretakers, doctors, nurses, rehabilitation specialists, we have all endured the worst this disease can throw at us. And we are surviving.
This weekend I had the chance to meet four amazing survivors. Each has their own story to tell. They shared the same stage: a six-year-old “little big man”, two high-school girls and an NFL lineman.
Amobi Okoye, an NFL defensive lineman, has faced plenty of opponents. Most of those opponents where 220-lb running backs and 270-lb tight ends looking to steam roll Amobi.
Eighteen-months ago, Amobi faced a new opponent – autoimmune encephalitis. It nearly took his life. This weekend he courageously told his story. His family told their story and friends gathered around to celebrate the thanksgiving of recovery.
Towards the end of the event, Amobi brought three other survivors of autoimmune encephalitis to the stage for this picture. Afterwards, he led the other three in a private moment ending with the chant “We are survivors! We Are SURVIVORS!!”
Yes you are!
On March 7, 2015 we will gather as survivors for the Florence Forth road race. Come join the autoimmune encephalitis community and run, walk or cheer. After the race, all patients and families are invited to an AE family lunch.
Tomorrow we will officially launch a team fundraising effort to raise money for the Autoimmune Encephalitis Alliance. All survivors – patients, families, friends, coworkers, or doctors, nurses and rehab specialists – are encouraged to join together. Form a team. Raise money. Celebrate the survivors among us.