By Candice Gindle, Intern, Virginia Wesleyan College
On the outside, Josiah appears to be like any other three-year-old boy. He loves trucks and he seems to be full of energy. Unfortunately, Josiah has been faced with many challenges already in his life.
A Fearful Moment
A few days after he was born, Josiah began getting sick. According to his mother, Shirley, Josiah was vomiting up to 30 times a day and suffered from severe pain, rashes, and gastrointestinal problems. Josiah was misdiagnosed multiple times and went through nine specialists before he was diagnosed with eosiniphilic esophagitis almost a year and a half later. Eosiniphilic esophagitis is an allergic inflammatory condition of the esophagus. About three to four months after he was diagnosed with the esophageal disorder, he was also diagnosed with epilepsy.
During the time that Josiah was in the hospital, his father, Warren, was laid off from his job. Shortly after, Shirley, Josiah’s mother, had to quit her job because of the demanding schedule of taking care of her son. Warren eventually found a new job and Shirley is now a stay-at-home mother. Shirley used to be a nurse, and she even says, “I miss it, but now I am Josiah’s nurse.”
Thankful for Angel Flight
Although Josiah’s parents have experienced quite a few struggles along the way, Angel Flight has helped them to pick back up and move forward with their lives. Shirley and Warren found out about Angel Flight through the hospital where Josiah was treated before he began his journey with Cincinnati Childrens Hospital in Cincinnati, Ohio, nearly eight hours away from his hometown in Virginia.
Angel Flight has helped Josiah and his parents in more ways than one—their trips are much shorter and their travel expenses have been drastically reduced. Also, Shirley often makes the trip to Josiah’s medical appointments with just the two of them, so driving for eight hours at the risk of Josiah having a seizure is just “too scary.”
A Long Way to Go
Josiah lives a life that most children, and even adults, would find extremely challenging. There is no cure for eosiniphilic esophagitis. Because of this, his diet is very limited and he has a weakened immune system. These factors have made it very risky and nearly impossible for him to attend daycare. He must take steroids and drink a synthetic manmade formula on a daily basis.
On top of his current setbacks, Josiah may also have a mitochondrial disease, which affects mitochondrial function and the mitochondria’s ability to generate energy for cells. He will be tested for the disease sometime in June.
Through all of this, Josiah has kept a smile on his face. “He is an amazing child who lights up any room that he enters,” his mom says. This little boy’s strength is truly amazing.
Editor’s note: Candice is a rising junior at Virginia Wesleyan College in Norfolk, Virginia. She is majoring in communications with a concentration in film, and she also enjoys writing. During her internship, Candice hopes to gain more writing and professional experience. In return, she hopes to make a positive contribution to Angel Flight.