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8-Year-Old Suddenly Loses Ability to Walk, Then Stops Speaking Midsentence: ‘She’s Completely Disabled’

No parent likes to see his or her child suffering, whether it’s from a skinned knee or something much worse — but not knowing what they are suffering from and being helpless to make them feel better is a special kind of torment. Pippa Daspit is a bright, musically talented 8-year-old who loves animals. She lives in Helena, Alabama, with her family, and loves treating her parents to musical numbers. But at the beginning of this year, strange things started to happen to Pippa with no explanation or warning. In January, she started to complain of eye pain, said her vision was impaired and said she felt like she was “looking through broken glass,” according to WIAT-TV in Birmingham, Alabama. And so began months of testing, doctor’s appointments, strange symptoms and zero answers. In August, Pippa’s condition worsened dramatically when she suddenly lost the ability to walk. “We were getting ready to go to school, and she just fell to the floor, and she hasn’t walked since,” her mother, Kelly Daspit, said. After being hospitalized, Pippa was wracked with full-body pain for up to 18 hours at a time. Best as doctors could tell, the young girl had fallen prey to some sort of functional neurological disorder where the brain wasn’t communicating with itself properly, but most cases hadn’t been seen in someone so young before. “We keep running into the issue that she’s only 8 years old,” dad Tommy Daspit said. “We’re trying to find a hospital in this country that will take her and diagnose her properly, or just work with her symptoms, because there’s nowhere like that in Alabama that has an inpatient program for these symptoms at her age.” They adjusted and tried to live life as normally as possible. But then a month later, as they were on the way to a restaurant, Pippa stopped speaking midsentence. “She typed out on her iPad, ‘I can’t speak,’ and she hasn’t since,” Kelly Daspit said. “Even though all of her body functions seem to be shutting down, she’s very bright and understands what is going on. She also understands that we don’t understand. … I just tell her that we’re not going to quit fighting for her and we’re going to do whatever it takes to find out what’s wrong and get help for her. “Pippa’s still in there. Sometimes she’s just trapped inside herself.” “I want to get better, but every week I get worse, and now I feel like I have no purpose,” Pippa communicated. The family shared their puzzling tale online and have received support in many forms, including prayers, cards, kind words and donations through a GoFundMe. Lots of people are following along, rooting for Pippa and praying for some sort of resolution. On Nov. 24, the family said it had finally gotten a diagnosis: Lyme disease. “Suddenly it all made sense,” an update on the GoFundMe read. “Pippa has been suffering from Lyme DIsease for 10 months, and now it’s likely in her brain, and she’s completely disabled. We were both devastated yet hopeful that now at least we have a diagnosis that can be treated. “With heavy medications and therapies Pippa is starting to improve. Her movements are better, she is vocalizing some sounds. But she has a long way to go.” Though the last few months have been heartbreaking and devastating, the Daspits are savoring joy where they can find it. Pippa was ecstatic to get a hedgehog, a pet she had long wanted and that her parents promised to get her in November. Her older brother, Wilder, built her a custom sensory box outside so she can work on her motor skills and enjoy her time outdoors. In a recent update, Kelly Daspit shared that even after a month of strong antibiotic treatments, tests showed that Pippa is still positive for both Lyme disease and Babesia, which is another tickborne illness. “Next week she will begin IV blood irradiation treatments,” Kelly Daspit shared in a Facebook post on Dec. 7. “This is yet another thing not covered by insurance, but I don’t even ask how much things are any more. I just say let’s do it. “Yesterday at her check-up, her doctor did discuss the real possibility that some of her disabilities may be irreversible. It’s not something we want to think about as we are still very much praying for and determined that Pippa will have her miracle. That she will walk AND speak again! “And I do cling to her progress. She is able to tolerate being touched again. She is vocalizing some and using her legs some. It’s not where we want to be but it’s also not where we were! Some days I still wake up and I wonder is this all a bad dream. But every day the monster Lyme continues to attack my Pippa’s body.” This article appeared originally on The Western Journal.

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