‘Phenomenal': 10-Year-Old Md. Boy Recovers From Rare Disease

Jackson Gilmore couldn't walk, talk or eat for months after he had a seizure

A Maryland family is celebrating what they describe as a miracle as a 10-year-old boy has regained his ability to walk, talk and eat nearly two years after he was diagnosed with a rare auto-immune disease.

Jackson Gilmore's life changed when he suffered a seizure a week after his ninth birthday.

"And all of a sudden, out the blue, Jackson had a seizure. He started slurring his words. And there is no history of that on either side of our family, so we just rushed him to the hospital," said Jason Gilmore, Jackson's father.

Doctors diagnosed him with anti-NMDA receptor encephalitis, a rare illness first discovered about 10 years ago.

"It's an auto immune disease in which the person's own body is actually attacking their brain," said Dr. Ilana Kahn, a child neurologist at Children's National Medical Center.

Jackson went from being active in baseball, football and ice hockey, to being unable to walk.

After extensive speech therapy and immune treatment therapy he has to relearned how to walk, talk and eat on his own.

"It's phenomenal. When he first started speaking, it was around Christmas time he said his first words. I was in shock," Jason Gilmore said.

Dr. Kahn says Jackson is fortunate because he was diagnosed two weeks after his first seizure.

Nearly two years after being diagnosed, his recovery isn't over, but he can finally go back to school when the new year starts on Monday.

"Now I can talk to my friends," Jackson said.

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