Jayven Alvarez-Hopkins

Wall of Hope: Stories of Courage & Inspiration


Jayven’s story began the morning of June 17, 2018, when Annie Canda-Alvarez and her husband, Jeramy, found their son laying on the floor of their Hawaii Island home.

Jayven was completely paralyzed and had foam and saliva coming out of his mouth.

“We asked him what was wrong and with slurred speech he said ‘I can’t move,’” Annie remembers.

Worried their son may be experiencing a stroke or a seizure, Annie and Jeramy called ahead as they rushed him to the nearest hospital.

My mom always said to me, ‘Giving up is never an option, son,’ and I made sure I never did!”

When they arrived, Jayven was immediately admitted, and the hospital started communications with Kapiolani Medical Center for Women & Children in order to medevac Jayven to Oahu.

“The doctors themselves had no real answers for us – all we could do was wait and see his progress,” Annie says.

Within a few hours, the 9-year-old’s condition worsened to the point where he had lost nearly all movement in his arms and legs. He also started having double vision. 

But the medical flight team was on its way, and soon the family was being transported across the ocean to Kapiolani.

“From that day on we became residents of Kapiolani for the next five months,” says Annie. “So many thoughts, feelings and questions that I had not even the slightest answer to ran through our heads, and all we could think of was please let them know what had happened to our son.”

Two weeks after his arrival physicians found the bacteria campylobacter in Jayven’s stomach. It was then that Jayven was medically diagnosed with Guillain-Barré syndrome.

Guillain-Barré syndrome is a rare but extremely serious autoimmune disorder in which the immune system mistakenly attacks healthy nerve cells in the peripheral nervous system, which can lead to weakness, numbness and tingling sensations in the feet and legs.

As the disorder progresses, paralysis can set in.

“He was scared because he was in the hospital, didn’t know what was happening to him or what the doctors were going to do, and he couldn’t move his body at all,” Annie says.

However, the care team at Kapiolani quickly eased Jayven’s fears.

“The care Jayven received exceeded all of our expectations,” Annie says. “No matter how busy the staff was, they made us feel like we were very special. Every single encounter with the staff was so positive and made us feel that we were in the best hands in the world.”

The care Jayven received exceeded all of our expectations. No matter how busy the staff was, they made us feel like we were very special." 

Today, Jayven is fully recovered and back to running, swimming, fishing and playing with his friends and cousins. He also is getting back into sports.

“Being paralyzed and having nerve damage for those months was not fun. Every day I felt new pains, but doing my physical and occupational therapy was what helped me recover as fast as I did,” says Jayven, now 10. “The pain was hard to bear some days, and there was times where I did not want to be there, but I knew if I wanted to get better and stronger again, I would have try my hardest to get past it. I pushed myself to my limits every day in order to get where I am only a year later. My mom always said to me, ‘Giving up is never an option, son,’ and I made sure I never did!”



Published on: October 21, 2019