Wednesday, June 13, 2012

Make-A-Wish Foundation grants Alba teen’s dream to meet Big Time Rush!

Eighteen-year-old Avery Spurger was beside himself with joy when he learned that his biggest wish would come true: He was going to meet his favorite musical band, Big Time Rush.
With the help from the Make-A-Wish Foundation, Avery along with his parents Michael and Amy Spurger, and younger brother Zachary, left their hometown of Alba Tuesday morning and headed to the airport to catch a plane bound for Los Angeles, California.
Next stop: Universal Studios. That is where Avery will get to meet and spend time with the popular Nickelodeon band.
Avery said he is excited to go to Universal Studios, but not as much as getting the chance to see his all-time favorite group.
When asked if he could name all of the members of the band, he quickly rattled off “James (Maslow), Kendall (Schmidt), Carlos (Pena) and Logan (Henderson)” then pulled out his IPod and began listing all of his favorite songs, such as “Super Star”, “Till I Forget About You” and of course, “Big Time Rush”- and has all of their other songs as well.
Avery said he even knows all of the band’s dance moves and if given the opportunity he would love to dance and sing with them onstage.
“Oh yes, I would definitely like that,” he said with a big smile.

Avery is afflicted with Systemic Onset Juvenile Idiopathic Arthritis and Wolf Parkinson Syndrome, which made him a recipient of the Make-A-Wish Foundation. Avery was diagnosed with the arthritis disease in September of 2010. The disease attacks the body’s organs causing joint inflammation and affects approximately 50,000 children in the United States. The inflammation causes redness, swelling and soreness in the joints affecting one’s mobility.
Avery’s mom, Amy, said her son was very active and healthy before his diagnosis, just one-week shy of his 17th birthday.
It all started with a rash on his legs and Avery complaining of pain in his feet. The next day, his elbow began hurting and the rash had spread throughout his body.
Avery was admitted into Children’s Medical Center in Dallas where doctors thought he merely had a virus. However while in the hospital his body started to shut down: his liver began to fail, fluid built up around his heart and fevers spiked all the way up to 105.7 in temperature.
Avery was screened and treated for many types of diseases but continued to get sick, his mom said. After receiving the test results, which all came back negative, doctors determined Avery had a rare form of arthritis.
Since then, Avery has undergone several rounds of treatment shots, some working and some not, his mother said. In his first round of shots, Avery had an allergic reaction which “burned” his body from head to toe. “The rash was horrible and he just screamed in pain.”
Next, Avery went through a round of steroid shots, which only worked for a short while, as he was put back in the hospital just 23 hours after his release. “He complained that his heart was hurting and was feeling very ill,” Amy said.
However after his third trip back into the hospital the family’s insurance company finally approved the $6,000 (per week) medication. “I don’t care how much it costs, it keeps my son alive,” Amy said. “He gets a shot every week plus takes a daily regimen of medicine.”
Throughout the past year Avery has had to battle walking again and even talking to some degree, but that has not stopped Avery from being his active teenage self. Avery attends school at the co-op in Alba and works at Wal-Mart in Mineola. He has been in remission since January 2011 and continues to make strides throughout his treatment.
“This disease is very rare but parents need to be aware that kids can get arthritis too. This disease damages the body and can potentially be deadly,” Amy added. “I am just so grateful and thankful that my son can spread his experiences onto others and still enjoy life.”

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