GREENACRES, Wash. - A Greenacres teen wonders every day whether he'll be able to walk, see, and hear.
He's lived with a rare neurological disease for the past five years that has robbed him of so much. Yet, Caleb Johansen refuses to let this challenge define and defeat him.
The bright 16-year-old escapes through music. He and his sister, Jena Johansen, love to spend their days together creating music. It helps them forget about the disorder that, at any moment, could take control of Caleb Johansen's body.
Doctors diagnosed the teen with conversion disorder. That means his body turns emotional and psychological stress into a physical response.
Lisa Morgan said she's seen her son in the most debilitating conditions.
"I've seen him lose complete use of every single muscle in his body and only be able to blink at me and there is nothing I can do," Morgan said.
In the past five years, he's temporarily lost his vision, hearing, use of his legs, and complete muscular control. He has seizure-like episodes, which causes his entire body to shake. The condition got so severe, he had to be pulled out of school.
Over the years, he's learned how to limit the symptoms, but they've never completely gone away.
“It's exhausting. I'm essentially fighting a mental battle in my head all day long,” Caleb Johansen said.
He's been on a waiting list for months to get his brain mapped at Cognitive FX. Doctors can take that information and create a specialized treatment plan.
But, insurance won't cover it.
The family is trying to raise more than $10,000. It's a big task for a single mom and her two kids.
“I try not to think about it, I think, because I really, I choose to hope for him and I choose to fight for him,” Morgan said.
Morgan has exhausted her own resources, so now businesses in the community are stepping up. Some coffee shops are raising money through the weekend and Bridge Press Cellars held an event Friday night.
All of this to raise enough money so they don't have to push Caleb Johansen's treatment back for the second time.
“I can hardly imagine how helpful it would be,” Caleb Johansen said.
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