Kerry Henrikson

Patient Leader

In 2011, my then 4 yr old son woke up one morning debilitated with OCD and anxiety that progressed to a long list of physical and mental debilitating symptoms. It was another year from that day when I stumbled on some information that helped me connect that severe/sudden change in personality to the strep infection he had 3 weeks prior. A random connection with another mom online mentioned the word PANDAS to me and it has changed my life path forever. It was another year of failed medical appointments and therapy sessions, ignored referrals, criticisms and ridicule from those who didn't believe me and then unfortunately, the same sudden decline in health of my 2 daughters as well, before I located a doctor who would diagnose my children with PANDAS, treat them appropriately with immune therapies and medications and bring my children back to me and back to a happy childhood. I decided fairly early on that I couldn't stay silent and needed to step up and help to deliver this information so that other children would not follow the same long, difficult path to treatment and recovery or so that they would not end up on the wrong path forever and be condemned to a life of struggle and despair. I started the non-profit organization PANDAS/PANS Ontario, a volunteer peer support and advocacy five years ago and also run an national support group called PANDAS Canada. Our successes have been many including, educating within our communities, schools, children's organizations, creating new legislation in Ontario and participating in several media pieces including a CTV W5 episode and an award winning documentary we helped to create; but by far, I feel our biggest success is the growing network of parents who have gathered in our support groups who are supporting one another and leading each other through this frightening journey so their child and family can begin to heal. It's been a rewarding and at times a challenging journey that I wouldn't change for anything!

Nominations

Advocating for Another
Kerry Henrikson

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