Condition: Multiple Sclerosis
City, State: Grants Pass, OR
Club: Hidden Valley High School Sparrow Club Service Hours:
Date Adopted: 10/30/2015
Brianna is a beautiful 15-year-old girl who is a freshman at Hidden Valley High School. She loves to ride her horse and enjoys cheer and hanging out with her friends. One might say that Brianna’s life is much like the lives of other girls her age, but Brianna’s life is very different from most girls in a way that others would not ever know just by looking at her. Brianna has multiple sclerosis, a disease that causes a person’s immune system to attack the nervous system. In September of 2014, the left side of Brianna’s body went numb for several weeks. An MRI revealed lesions on her brain, which confirmed her diagnosis.
Multiple Sclerosis (or MS) is rare in children, only affecting 8,000 – 10,000 kids nationwide. It is not fatal, nor is it contagious, but currently, there is no cure. When Brianna relapses, she experiences numbness, pain, hearing loss, extreme fatigue, seizures, blurred vision, and weakness. These symptoms can last from a few days to a few weeks, with little time for remission between relapses. At one point, Brianna had to be hospitalized due to a large seizure.
In light of these symptoms, Brianna is learning how to adjust to life with a chronic autoimmune disease. She has had negative reactions to some medications and has been prescribed a two and a half hour infusion that she will receive once a month. She sees a pediatric MS specialist at UC San Francisco, as well as maintaining regular appointments with her local neurologist.
Despite life’s challenges, Brianna has a smile and an outlook that exudes happiness. She is determined to not let MS rob her of the joy that she has in her life.
Brianna will be adopted as a Sparrow to Hidden Valley High School, the very school she attends. Brianna’s own peers at HVHS will work hard to raise money for her through sponsored community service and fundraising projects.