It all started with a headache and sore back.
According to the Fort Worth Star-Telegram, 15-year-old Morgan Larance wasn't feeling well when she came home from a friend's house. The teen went to school the following day, but ended up in the nurse's office.
The school nurse made sure Larance's blood pressure was fine, but she did take note of her fever. Larance ended up calling her mom, Jennifer Kimbro, to pick her up. After leaving school, her fever continued to rise. When it hit 104 degrees that night, Kimbro took her to the emergency room.
Following tests, Larance was sent home, and the hospital told her the next day that she had the flu.
Larance bounced back quickly, and felt well enough to go to a doctor's appointment two days later. The 15-year-old had regular check-ups with her doctor because of a condition that had left her esophagus inflamed as a child.
According to the Star-Telegram, the check-up went well. Kimbro said of the appointment:
“Everything was good. She was completely fine. Normal Morgan.”
Just to ensure that Larance was well rested, Kimbro kept her home for another day. That's when the teen's health quickly turned.
While Larance rested at home, Kimbro went to work. She became uneasy when she didn't hear from the teen and didn't answer the phone when she called to check on her. Kimbro went home and found her daughter's lifeless body on the couch. The girl was unresponsive, but breathing.
Larance was rushed to the hospital where she remained unconscious for nine days. An MRI showed that she was suffering from much more than the flu— she was diagnosed with a rare neurological disease called acute necrotizing encephalopathy, which can occur in people battling the flu.
The condition is startlingly rare: the hospital where Larance is being treated has seen only one other case in the last two years, according to infectious diseases specialist, Dr. Mark Shelton.
The rare disease caused lesions to form, attacking Larance's brain stem and spinal cord. Kimbro explained:
“It’s like a termite on a piece of wood.”
The road to recovery has been slow for the teen, and her family feared she would not make it. She's making small signs of improvement. Larance has squeezed her mother's hand and has tried to speak. She remains motionless, but the encephalopathy has lessened since she was initially diagnosed.
Larance's diagnosis has impacted her entire community. Her school's Assistant Principal and Athletic Director Jason Briles explained:
“The hardest part is not getting to see her smiling face. She was the life of every conversation. There was never a dull moment around her. It’s tough on the kids.”
The community has rallied around the teenager and her family by organizing bake sales and selling bracelets and t-shirts with the hashtag #Pray4M. Thus far, they have raised $3,000.
As Larance's condition continues to improve, Kimbro posts updates on her daughter's recovery, letting supporters know that Larance is showing her strength as she fights her way back from the devastating disease.
And Kimbro is waiting and praying for her daughter to start breathing on her own. The mother said:
“I just keep telling her, talk to God, ask him for strength."