Boy who lost ability to walk and talk now making great progress

MARSHALL COUNTY, KY — A Marshall County boy who suddenly lost the ability to walk, talk or feed himself has shown remarkable improvement since last week.

Hunter Crum sits with his mom, Brandi.

Brandi and Bart Crum, who live near Benton, Kentucky, have seven children, including four who are adopted. One of them is 4-year-old Hunter Crum, who began living with the family when he was 21 months old. He was in good health at that time.

“He was busy, and funny and just the best baby ever,” said Brandi. “He is the happiest baby I have ever encountered.”

But on June 6, 2017, when Hunter was 3 years old, his health quickly deteriorated. He had just woken up from a nap when Brandi realized he couldn’t keep his balance.

“He was like doing his arms like this [sticking them straight out], and he took two steps, and he fell,” Brandi recalled.

By next day, Hunter could not walk, talk or use his hands.

“Watching your baby be normal, and then take a nap, and your whole life changes in three hours, three-and-a-half hours, it’s unspeakable,” said Brandi. “The pain watching him suffer through fear.”

Brandi said doctors initially misdiagnosed Hunter with strep throat, cerebellitis, and opsoclonus-myoclonus syndrome. But Hunter did not respond to chemotherapy and medication, and he eventually had to use a wheelchair. Because Hunter could not use his hands, he was unable to feed himself. And in addition to not being able to talk, Hunter could not remember many things he had learned prior to his condition, such as the alphabet.

Brandi said the family thought Hunter had OMS until last week, when a genetic test revealed he likely has ataxia telangiectasia-like disorder, which affects his cerebellum, and in turn impacts his muscle control and fine motor skills.

Since last week, Hunter has also been able to accomplish several milestones. When he and his family were at a beach in Florida, Hunter walked without any assistance for the first time since his symptoms appeared a year ago. A few days later, Hunter was able to dress himself and feed himself a sandwich —things he hadn’t been able to do since last year.

Brandi said the family’s faith keeps them fighting.

“Hunter’s going to be healed regardless. He’s either going to be healed this side of heaven or the other side of heaven,” said Brandi. “But you know what? He’s going to run again.”

Brandi said she hopes to purchase a body suit for Hunter that can support his back, help with his balance, and allow him to walk more effectively. The family also wants to redo the bathroom in their home to make it more accessible for Hunter. That includes adding railings and making the sinks reachable.

Eventually, Brandi hopes to get a service dog for Hunter as well, one that wears a harness to help him with his mobility. The family has set up an online fundraising page. Those interested in contributing can click here.

You can find out more information about this story and others by following Chris Yu on Facebook and Twitter.


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