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Boy recovering from life-threatening virus

February 11, 1999

Chris MartinBy MARLO BARNHART / Staff Writer




Eight days ago, Les and Lori Martin's suburban family existence was turned upside down by a tiny virus that attacked and paralyzed their child.

On Feb. 4, the Martin's 12-year-old son, Christopher, was diagnosed with transverse myelitis, a condition in which the spinal cord becomes inflamed, causing paralysis and sometimes worse.

"We did lose him briefly at Johns Hopkins Hospital in Baltimore when he was critical," said Lori Martin Thursday from her Washington County home. "The doctors said it was a miracle that Christopher has come back so far."

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Christopher returned home from the hospital Wednesday - sore, a little off balance and full of medication but glad to be in familiar surroundings.

Christopher faces a long road of physical therapy, which begins next week.

The first anyone knew something was wrong with Christopher was Feb. 1, Lori Martin said.

"He began screaming in pain," she said. "We thought he had hurt his back from flipping up on his bunk."

A trip to the emergency room led to Christopher's admission to Hopkins, where the myelitis diagnosis was made.

Christopher was in critical condition Feb. 4 when he was checked in, according to his mother. Paralyzed from the neck down, he was placed on a respirator.

The Martins stayed with Christopher around the clock, taking leaves from their jobs. They stayed at the Ronald McDonald House in Baltimore during that period.

Christopher will be out of school for some time while he recuperates, his mother said. Soon, he will be able to begin trying to catch up on all the sixth-grade homework at Springfield Middle School.

Christopher has been active in Halfway Little League, Washington County Junior Football and Cub Scout Pack 36.

He was also the water boy for the Williamsport High School football team last year.

All that physical fitness, his youth and sheer determination worked to help him recover so quickly, his mother said.

The youngster has been receiving cards, phone calls and prayers from classmates, friends and family.

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