14-year-old football player complaining of a headache dies from rare neurological disease

When Christopher Bunch, 14, returned from football practice on Monday, Aug. 6, life seemed relatively normal for his Iowa family. He had complained about having a headache earlier in the day, but his mother, Destiny Maynard, believed it was due to dehydration.

Sadly, the headache that the soon-to-be high school freshman was experiencing was a symptom of acute disseminated encephalomyelitis (ADEM), a rare neurological disease that occurs after a viral or bacterial infection. ADEM also — although rarely — can occur after vaccinations. 

Maynard said that her son had both an infection and vaccinations recently. 

Children are more likely than adults to develop ADEM, which is a brief, yet intense, swelling of the brain and spinal cord. 

In just 48 hours, Christopher’s symptoms worsened, and he was sent to the University of Iowa Stead Family Children’s Hospital. There, he lost the ability to breathe on his own, and the left side of his body became paralyzed.

On Aug. 12, Christopher’s father, Elijah Mendoza, said on Facebook that his son had a brain herniation. Two days later, the family announced Christopher’s death.

As of 1:02pm On 8/14/18 Christopher Bunch has went to Heaven. RIP my baby,” Maynard wrote.

R.I.P. my sweet blonde blue eyed boy,” Mendoza wrote

Christopher dreamed of being a famous YouTube vlogger, and many of his videos included his family.  “You now have over 3,000 views on your vlog on YouTube. This is only the beginning my boy. Just make sure that in heaven you are vlogging like crazy,” his father wrote.

You can donate to help Christopher’s family with their medical expenses here.

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