Becoming 'left strong'

By Michelle Costanza

April 25, 2013 Updated Apr 26, 2013 at 9:50 AM EDT

(WBNG Binghamton) The Waverly community and beyond came together in red on Thursday to support one little boy's life-changing surgery.

Nine-year-old Candon Westervelt was diagnosed with Rasmussen Encephalitis, a rare disease under the autoimmune umbrella, in November.

It is not known what causes the disease. The neurological condition causes frequent seizures, brain inflammation, and loss of motor skills and speech.

After two and a half years of enduring the intense seizures, Candon was admitted at Johns Hopkins in Baltimore Thursday morning to undergo a procedure, one that would hopefully put an end to his suffering.

"He had them in school all the time. He had them in target. He had
them on an airplane, and unfortunately last evening at five o'clock was
his last seizure- we hope- on the metro here in Baltimore when we were heading to dinner," said Candon's mother, Colby Westervelt.

The eight to ten-hour procedure, called hemispherectomy, removed the right side of his brain and all infected tissue. The hope is that the left side will take over, the seizures will end, and Candon will be able to live a fairly normal life.

According to the family's online journal, the Westervelts heard the news from Candon's neurologist around 4PM Thursday that the surgery had gone well.

The procedure has left half of Candon's body paralyzed. Though the surgery is complete, for the Westervelts, the battle is far from over. Candon will begin intensive rehab to retrain his body through ten hours a week of occupational, physical, and speech therapy.

"He's very determined and very brave. We know we have a long road ahead of us, but we know if anyone can do it, he can," said Colby.

To follow Candon's story and donate you can visithis website.

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