PANDAS fundraiser underway at St. Joe County 4-H Fairgrounds

Published: Sep. 15, 2022 at 5:30 PM EDT
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SOUTH BEND, Ind. (WNDU) - Thursday will be a night of live music and fun in Michiana - and all for a good cause!

It’s all to raise money and awareness about PANDAS. And no, we’re not talking about the animal.

It stands for Pediatric Autoimmune Neuropsychiatric Disorders Associated with Strep.

Imagine your child completely changing personalities overnight, that was the reality for a Michiana mom.

Today, Lindsey Forsyth spent the day speaking with doctors and other officials at Beacon about it. Her 11-year-old son Brady was diagnosed with the rare condition after getting strep throat. What happens is that the immune system attacks the strep bacteria and also the child’s brain.

Overnight, Brady developed intense mood swings and severe separation anxiety which was terrifying to his parents who were left wondering what happened to their son.

“To say it was absolute hell in the months leading up to the diagnosis is an understatement,” Lindsey Forsyth recalled. “We were trying to keep a sense of normalcy for his siblings, for him, we had no idea, there is nothing harder than feeling like a stranger living in your house and you have no idea why.”

If you are interested in learning more about PANDAS, there’s a fundraiser taking place at 6:30 p.m. at the St. Joe County 4-H Fairgrounds. It will feature live music, an auction, and the public is invited to attend and learn more.

“We have had the good fortune of being in contact with Dr. Dritan Agalliu from Columbia University Medical Center. He really is one of the top in the world for researching the disease model for PANDAS,” Lindsey Forsyth said.

All the proceeds from the fundraiser will go to Dr. Agalliu and his research.

“We are at a turning point with some of the research,” Lindsey Forsyth said. “We are very close to turning the corner on some diagnostic blood work for these kids, and maybe, the opportunity to create some new therapies around ways to block some of the autoimmune response the body is creating to Strep (Throat).”