Community gathers to benefit Page County boy with Lyme disease
Jeep lovers came together in Shenandoah today to raise money for a young boy who is fighting late-stage Lyme disease.
Seven-year-old Zander went undiagnosed with Lyme disease for five years. His mother, Brittaney Sutherland, said doctors told her that Zander was just going through growing pains, but she says she knew there was something wrong.
"Come this year, his knees started to swell up the size of a softball and he couldn't walk. There were days where he couldn't talk, couldn't spell his name," Sutherland said. "We took him to UVA and they did the blood work. It came back positive for Lyme."
Sutherland said Zander's journey has been rough. At one point, she said, he was on over a dozen medications to help with the pain, infections and other Lyme disease side effects.
"He did just return back to school," Sutherland said. "He was out for about a month and a half, but total this year he's missed about 60 days of school from being down and not being able to walk, talk or function."
Zander is a student at Shenandoah Elementary School and he said he loves math and playing outside.
Sutherland said she wants Zander to have a normal and happy childhood, but she says until then he will be on constant medication until he is in a remission state.
"It's like a light switch," Sutherland said. "One day he's up running around, tonight he could be down, screaming in pain."
Sutherland said her family appreciates all the community has done to help Zander through the next stages of his battle.
"There are still good people that care about others that they don't even know because we don't know half the people that are here," Sutherland said. "This is the first time we've met them and they've come out to support him."