ROCK FALLS – Five-year-old Hudsyn Finkle is one in a million.
While that phrase is used often in a positive way to describe special people, in his case, Hudsyn and his family wish he wasn’t.
The Rock Falls boy was diagnosed with acute flaccid myelitis, which doctors describe as “our generation’s polio,” since the symptoms and effects resemble that illness.
The odds of contracting AFM are 1 in 1 million, experts say.
While he showed signs and symptoms of AFM in September, Hudsyn wasn’t diagnosed officially until January.
He has not been able to use his left arm, and has difficulty standing, walking and sitting, but he continues to power through his physical and occupational therapy sessions.
He is making progress, and has and done it all without a complaint or feeling sorry for himself, his parents say.
“He is a trooper through all of this and really good about it,” mom Danielle Finkle said. “He’s resilient and adaptive, and I wonder how he can deal with this a lot better than I can.”
That resiliency will be put to the test this summer when Hudsyn and his family – including dad Adam, brothers Breyman and Coen, and sister Delaynie – head once more to Shriner’s Children’s Hospital in Chicago for 2 weeks of intensive therapy.
“When I say intensive, that’s exactly what it means,” Danielle said.
“His days will be 6 hours long, and we’ve made two trips in there already. But he’s excited for the hydrotherapy part because that will be in a pool.”
As expected, all of the therapy and the travel and lodging costs money, and Hudsyn has a long road ahead of him still. To help offset some of those expenses, friends of the family are organizing a benefit May 18 at the Rock Falls American Legion.
The community support has been heartwarming, Danielle said. It carries the family in the days when she wonders why it was Hudsyn who had to be the rare one to get such an illness and what it means for the rest of his life.
“You never think anything like this will ever happen,” she said. “One of his doctor’s even said if I had any probability of guessing his outcome I might as well go buy a lottery ticket, too.”
As to why Hudsyn contracted AFM in the first place, scientists in Minnesota may have found a reason, according to a study released Thursday.
Researchers from Minnesota and the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reported that they found Enterovirus-D68 in the spinal fluid of one of six children with acute flaccid myelitis, or AFM.
“[AFM] is incredibly scary for patients and families,” said Dr. Heidi Moline, the lead author of the report and the University of Minnesota’s chief pediatric resident.
“The fact that we were able to definitively identify the EV-D68 virus as the cause of paralysis in one of our Minnesota patients does suggest this virus as a probable cause in our other recent AFM cases.”
The new research report was based on six children, ages 1 to 9, who were hospitalized between Sept. 19 and Oct. 1 after initial headaches or flu symptoms devolved into limb weakness or paralysis.
The CDC released the findings in its weekly MMWR journal.
Hudsyn Finkle benefit
ROCK FALLS – A benefit for Hudsyn Finkle begins at noon May 18 at the Rock Falls American Legion, 712 Fourth Ave.
The day will include an auction, DJ, magician, bake sale and cake walk, face painting, 50-50 raffle and a kids coloring contest with door prizes.
There is a wide assortment of auction items, and more are coming in, she said. Sports-related items include tickets for the Chicago White Sox, Rockford Icehogs, Quad City Storm, Quad City River Bandits and Clinton Lumberkings. Other items are a children's play center party room rental worth $400, whole hog with processing and several gift baskets donated by local businesses.
Buffalo Wild Wings in Sterling also is pitching in, with a portion of its proceeds on Wednesday going to the family.
Find Hudsyn Finkle Benefit on Facebook to donate or for more information.