Layla Lacey-Nahale had always been a happy, healthy little girl.
Then one day, right before Thanksgiving, Layla’s preschool teacher noticed the 3 ½-year-old limping. Layla hadn’t fallen down, and her teacher couldn’t find any bruises to indicate an injury, but her mom and dad took her to the emergency room anyway, just to be safe. The doctors couldn’t find anything wrong and sent her home.
Some time later, Layla began kicking and thrashing in her sleep. Her legs became so sore that she couldn’t walk. This growing illness worried her parents, and soon they were on their way from Kona to Kapiolani Medical Center for Women & Children via air transport.
The trip to Oahu would turn into a seven-month ordeal for Layla and her family.
“She stopped talking, walking, needed a tube for feeding, and became another little girl altogether,” said her father, Kaaina.
Doctors at Kapiolani diagnosed Layla with Anti-N-Methyl-D-aspartate (anti-NMDA) receptor encephalitis, a rare autoimmune disease only discovered in 2007 in which antibodies attack the brain.
Over time, and through multiple treatments, Layla has made a full recovery and once again is happy, healthy little girl.
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