Texas family finds faith, support amid son's mystery illness

Family finds faith, support amid son's mystery illness

The Landis family has learned a lot in the last decade, pain can do that if you let it.

"It wasn't pretty in the beginning," said Melissa Landis.

Nine years ago the Landis' son, Brandon, went to football camp.  He was just 10-years-old. When he returned he had a sore throat so Melissa called some of the other moms to see if their kids felt sick too.

"And nobody reported feeling anything," Melissa said.

The next day Brandon couldn't move his hands. His condition quickly got worse. Doctors said he contracted a virus that has attacked his nervous system and his muscles.

Now age 19, it's hard for Brandon to move or talk.

"His condition depends on the day. We know immediately how it's going to go judging by how he walks when he first gets up," Drew Landis, Brandon's father, said.

For the Christian family, this diagnosis was hard to accept at first. Both Drew and Melissa say they like to be in control and not being able to fix their son nearly tore the family apart.

"And there was a moment where I dropped to my knees and I talked to God and I said we can be angry and bitter or we can choose faith, peace, and joy," Melissa said.

The Landis family chose hope.

Brandon's sister, Cassidy, was just 6-years-old when her brother first got sick. She says it's been tough not being able to talk with her brother like other siblings do, but she sees something special in Brandon that most people on this earth don't have. She also says she's learned valuable lessons from her brother.

"I think I treat people in a different way because I've seen what Brandon goes through and the kind of person he is. I want to take that into the world," Cassidy said.

While the family chooses hope, they say it's a daily choice.

"It's not always easy but God keeps putting amazing people in our path who are here to help," Drew said.

For both Drew and Melissa, their Christian faith teaches to help those in need, but the couple says it was difficult learning to accept that help from others.

"I'm 'Mr. Fix It' and I couldn't fix my son. That was tough." Drew said, "And accepting help from others hasn't been easy but God has shown me just how much love there is."

The family has traveled the country meeting with specialists, refusing to give up on finding better treatments for their son. The newest round of medication costs more than $3,000 dollars a month and insurance doesn't cover it. The family is also saving to redesign their house so Brandon can move around more easily.

"The costs add up but we have faith and we live day by day," Melissa said.

Their Lake Highlands community also keeps stepping up to help. The support started days after the diagnosis and has continued for nearly 10 years. Last week Lake Highlands High School held a fundraiser for Brandon and his family.

"It's just incredible. This is our home and our friends and church have been there every step of the way," Melissa said.

The journey for the Landis family is far from over. If you'd like to help you can find out how to do so by clicking here.

© 2017 WFAA-TV


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