Nika has been battling Lyme disease, an infection that is spread by ticks, as well as multiple co-infections for more than 10 years. She puts on a brave face for her three children, but the pain is becoming intolerable, and the other symptoms are oftentimes severely debilitating, leaving her unable to perform simple tasks, let alone work.
Like many of 300,000 people in the United States who are infected with the disease on an annual basis, Nika’s symptoms imitated those of other diseases and she was initially misdiagnosed. After finally being diagnosed with Lyme disease and co-infections in 2012, she began taking a regimen of multiple oral antibiotics, antimalarials and supplements.
Earlier this year, she traveled to the Riordan Clinic in Wichita, Kansas, where treatments such as ultraviolet blood irradiation, IV Vitamin C flushes and IV glutathione are available to those suffering from chronic late-stage Lyme disease and co-infections
Life as the Zander family knew it changed on September 13, 2017, when their 8-year-old daughter, Angelica, was diagnosed with a malignant brain tumor. That was the start of what Kim calls “this unbelievably difficult journey,” during which Angelica has undergone two major brain surgeries at Penn State Children’s Hospital, as well as 30 chemotherapy and 31 radiation treatments at Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia. “Never in my life would I have imagined going through this,” says Angelica’s mother, Kim. “You wake up in the middle of the night, praying It's just a dream. This 8-year-old child has hit so many road bumps, as the doctors can attest to, but she has been a trooper and a warrior. She is my hero.” Thankfully, the Zander family has a great support system and are grateful to God for that. “I know He will get us through this,” Kim says.
Chef Steven Drake possessed a passion about cooking -- and life -- that was unbreakable. Then, his mood changed and he became confused and frustrated. As a man only in his early 40s, he couldn't understand what was happening. After three years of struggling and undergoing a rapid decline, he was diagnosed with Early Onset Alzheimer's Disease and Lewy Body Dementia at 46 years of age. Dealing with mounting medical bills and crippling debt has caused Steven and his wife, Janette Gotwals, to lose their Lancaster County home. They now rely on family out of state to help ease the burden of this terrible disease. They are hopeful that one day they can regain their footing and make their way back home to Lancaster and their beloved community of friends, family and church.
In the summer of 2017, 14-year-old Isaiah began complaining of headaches. An MRI revealed a large mass on the left side of his brain. Isaiah endured an eight-hour surgery at Penn State Children’s Hospital to remove what was determined to be a Malignant Peripheral Nerve Sheath Tumor (MPNST). Only 85% of the tumor was able to be removed due to its proximity to the jugular vein, carotid artery and facial nerves. hemotherapy followed, as did additional surgery at Lenox Hill Hospital in New York City to remove what remained of the tumor.
While Isaiah must still undergo physical therapy, chemo and radiation at Children's Hospital of Philadelphia, his parents, Tim and Nancy, say their hearts are filled with joy and hope for the future. They credit their positive outlook to faith in God, and the support of family, church and community.