by Ben Neal
One Unique Kid
Sophomore Parrish Donald Fehrman is a pretty normal sixteen year old. He likes to hang out with friends and play basketball on Junior Varsity. But his whole aspect of life changed last year. Parish has a very rare disease called Juvenile Myositis.
Juvenile Myositis is an extremely rare autoimmune disease. The body’s own immune system attacks its own tissues and cells. Some symptoms include weak muscles and skin rash. Some children experience the disease more harshly while others have a very moderate experience. According to John Hopkins Medicine, Juvenile Myositis approximately affects two to 5,000 children in the United States each year. Juvenile Myositis begins in the early years of life or the teenage years. The average age of symptoms is between six and seven years old. The disease is primarily found in girls but the root cause of Juvenile Myositis is unknown.
When Parrish was first experiencing his symptoms, his parents and himself thought it was Lupus. Lupus is a very similar disease but more known and common than Juvenile Myositis. Like lupus, juvenile myositis appears in spurts. Meaning it flairs up. The toll has for sure taken a toll on the lives of everyone in Parrish’s life. His lifestyle, his diet, and even they way he participates in basketball has changed. Parrish’s favorite sport has always been basketball, and this dreadful disease took his love for the game away for a brief time.
“I was restricted from February from about the first game of the school season, but even when I started playing, it was very, very hard,” Parrish said.
The reason he was restricted was because the disease physically took so much out of him. Parrish lost an astonishing forty-five pounds, which is not healthy. Parrish has a very humble approach to this disease, he has not pitied himself in anyway.
“From the medicine, to the doctors, to all the missed school days, or just not being able to do that much, the hardest part for me was seeing how it affected my mom. “
Parrish also has a very good support system from his parents, his two brothers, his sister, and all of his friends.
“My family has been very strong for me along with my friends.” Parrish said
One of Parrish’s closest friends, Cameron Cassidy, had these kind words to say,” I’m always gonna be there for Parrish no matter what because he would do it for me, it just stinks that Parrish was so unlucky to get Juvenile Myositis, but in a way, it makes him more unique that what he already is.” Cassidy said.
Parrish has to miss a lot of school day due to doctor visits because of his rare condition. Even with the stress his disease brings, he has managed to keep all As and be a role model in his class. Parrish balances honors classes, basketball, social life, and most importantly, his disease perfectly.
“Parrish’s work ethic is amazing and the fact that he can concentrate on school with this rare disease is truly amazing.” Nick Brobst said who is Parrish’s human body systems teacher.
Along with having to change so much, it was recommended to go on a diet. The diet is an anti inflammatory diet. An anti inflammatory diet is a diet that consists of cutting back on red meat and completely cutting out dairy products. Omega 3 fatty acids, such as fish, and whole grains are also apart of this very strict diet.
“ I was just so worried about him and I heard that this kind of diet can help prevent flare ups, so I figured why not try it. I was for sure more enthusiastic about him on this diet that he was. “ Parrish’s mother Stephanie Fehrman said.
Parrish has been very strong throughout this whole process. He has been very patient with the doctors and the whole process in general.
“I used to question why I had to get this disease, but I came to accept it, I had to” Parrish said.
With the mindset Parrish has, it appears no disease can stop him.
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