LIVONIA, Mich., Dec. 23, 2010 /PRNewswire/ -- Little Matthew Wuchich, 3, is the face of Alternating Hemiplegia of Childhood (AHC). His story helped spur an intensive viral campaign for votes in the $250,000 November Pepsi Refresh contest. Matthew's humble "please" at the end of his videos helped propel the little known AHC Foundation into the nation's hearts and the winner's circle with a dramatic win in the final minutes of the contest.
Matthew has returned to YouTube during the busy holiday season! He & the AHC kids are asking everyone to "Take 5 to Give $5" to help raise $25,000 by the end of December, 2010, to fund expensive treatment for relief from the often painful symptoms of AHC. "Many families either cannot get the drugs or simply can't afford them," says Jeff Wuchich, Matthew's father and AHCF President.
Treatment options are limited. Flunarizine, which helps some patients, is not FDA approved; US insurance companies refuse coverage. Sodium Oxybate is an extremely controlled substance, which may help, but more research is needed at significant expense.
The rare children's disease, Alternating Hemiplegia of Childhood (AHC), is a permanent and painful neurological disorder that causes attacks of temporary paralysis lasting minutes or days. The disease impairs their ability to learn, giving AHC kids limited communication skills and also affects muscle control, causing shallow breathing, difficulty walking and swallowing. AHC is often misdiagnosed as cerebral palsy or epilepsy and is incurable.
New genetic testing to map the gene that causes AHC begins in January, 2011 with a greater sample of patients. "But we're still years away, and millions of dollars short," says Wuchich, "which is why we continue to raise funds to give the kids some relief now, while we wait," he says.
Donations may be made at AHCKids.org and AHC Kids Foundation on Facebook. The AHC Foundation is a nonprofit organization, formed in 1995 to raise awareness and funds for research to find the cause, treatment and ultimately a cure for Alternating Hemiplegia of Childhood, while providing support to the families and patients with AHC.
SOURCE AHC Foundation