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Teen fighting for life after headache leads to life-changing diagnosis

Posted at 8:21 PM, Aug 13, 2018
and last updated 2018-08-13 20:21:50-04

IOWA CITY, Iowa -- A Illinois teen is fighting for his life just days before he was supposed to start his freshman year of high school.

His humor, that hair, those piercing eyes, and of course, his confidence; 14-year-old Christopher Bunch was born to be known. Just check out his YouTube Channel.

"One of his dreams was to make it big on YouTube," Christopher's dad Elijah Bunch told WQAD.

But last week this big brother's life took a turn for the worst. It all started with a headache at football practice.

"If anything I was thinking he's probably just really dehydrated," says Christopher's mom Destiny Maynard.

Christopher spent most of the next 48 hours sleeping. That's when his parents knew something was wrong.

"His progression went from zero to one hundred in a matter of four hours," says Elijah Bunch.

Christopher was rushed to the ICU in Iowa City where his parents got the diagnosis. Christopher has ADEM disease. That's short for acute disseminated encephalomyelitis.

It's a rare auto immune disease that rapidly attacks the brain and spinal cord.

Iowa City doctors only see about six cases a year. And they say Christopher's is the worst case yet.

Within a matter of hours the teen stopped breathing on his own.

"From that point on, everything just spiraled downhill," says Elijah Bunch.

Now all these parents can do is pray and try to make their son's dream come true.

"He wanted to be known, and he wanted to be famous. He would have been one way or another."

Christopher proves in just 14 years on earth, you can make a difference.

"How to love people with open arms, and how to live your life and be the best you and that what he did everyday," says Destiny.

"I'm so happy we had 14 beautiful years with him, but I'm so mad that's all that we got," says Elijah.

On Monday afternoon Christopher had more testing done at the hospital. His parents say even though things don't look good right now, their son is still fighting.

Most cases of ADEM disease are treatable, but again, doctors say Christopher's case is the worst they've ever seen.

The family has set up a donation page to help with medical expenses.