THE WOODLANDS, Texas - Acute Flaccid Myelitis or AFM is a rare condition that, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, affects less than one in a million people every year in the United States. The condition is not new, but the CDC says the increase in cases since 2014 is. While AFM is not required to be reported, Texas has seen a total of 8 cases this year (2018).
In 2016, the number of reported cases was 19. That was the year that seven-year-old Braden Scott of The Woodlands was diagnosed.
“Before I got this disease, they [Braden's parents] wouldn’t let me have video games as much," said Braden who continues to see the positive even after battling the disease for more than 2 years. “Maybe because there’s a bunch of fun stuff in my life.”
Beginning on July 4th, 2016 Braden's world was rocked. That marked the start of a 7 month stay in the hospital as Braden, the morning of The Fourth of July, complained of weakness and not being able to swallow.
“For Braden, he had a hard time swallowing," said Braden's mother Rachel Scott. "We thought it was strep or mono. It was actually paralysis and his swallowing muscles were paralyzed.”
And that's what AFM does. According to the CDC, AFM affects the nervous system, specifically the area of spinal cord called gray matter, which causes the muscles and reflexes in the body to become weak.
"Most of the kids don’t fully recover so we don’t expect him to ever get back to where he was," said Rachel.
AFM mostly affects children under the age of 10.
"His arms, his legs, his core muscles, he couldn’t hold his head up," said Rachel. "Everything was paralyzed, he could move one hand and that’s it.”
But for the Scott's, they're hopeful that they've already hit rock bottom. Things are slowly improving for Braden. He can walk and move his arms, progress noted by his older brother Finley Scott.
“If you’re looking for a good friend, it’s good to have Braden," said Finley.
You can follow Braden's journey by Clicking Here.
Learn more about Acute Flaccid Myelitis by Clicking Here.