Jennifer Perkins

Jennie Perkins was interviewed by AHCIM in July 2014

Jennie had a grand mal seizure and remembers nothing before her 16th birthday

The purpose of AHC International Library is to collect information about AHC and related disorders and make them visible for everyone.

Doctors, researchers and family can share information on this media and together we can help each other get closer to the goal of having an effective treatment for AHC.

AHCIM will continue to interview interested parties that have information on AHC or related disorders to share .

For more information: www.ahcim.com

Contact us at ahc@ahc.is

AHC Patients are Human Timebombs

My name is Sigurdur Holmar Johannesson, I am father to a 10-year-old girl, Sunna Valdis, who is diagnosed with Alternating Hemiplegia of Childhood (AHC).

I work as an air traffic controller and my wife works as a flight attendant. We live in Reykjavik, Iceland, and are blessed with two children, Viktor is 17 and Sunna is 10.

Viktor is a perfectly healthy young man, athletic, gets good grades and has a bright future ahead of him.

Sunna is amazingly happy but her condition is extremely debilitating. She has terrible episodes almost every day, sometimes life threatening episodes.

Our family formed the AHC Association of Iceland in 2009 and my wife and I have been raising awareness for AHC and rare disorders both domestic and internationally ever since.

Alternating Hemiplegia of Childhood, which is one of the most complex neurological disorders known to man, has the prevalence of 1/1.000.000.

AHC incorporates many of the symptoms of other neurological diseases and more.

AHC causes episodes of spasms, paralysis, seizures, and excruciating pain. AHC patients are also cognitively late developed and many are touched with other physical and psychological problems.

AHC has so many different elements and the symptoms are always changing so it is very difficult to explain to another person what goes on in our home every day.

In 2012 when Sunna was 6 years old we decided that in order to explain our situation we had to make a short film about Sunna and her condition in Icelandic and English so family, friends and doctors understood her condition and the complexity of it.

We were lucky enough to meet Agusta Fanney who was at that time studying filmmaking in California and she made the video for us

We uploaded the videos to Youtube but expected nothing. What happened was nothing short of fantastic because we started to get messages saying that children were getting diagnosed because of the video and that other families were getting more understanding from their family and friends, all because if this video.

This positive response made us want to help more. Agusta Fanney had at this time gotten to know Sunna so now it was personal for her, she was now passionate about helping the cause and to expedite research for AHC.

I also got very interested in making films because I saw the effect it was having and realized that the phrase “a picture says more than a thousand words” was indeed very true. Finding funds to raise awareness and support research was also easier when people understood the disease.

We then made an international short video with the help of AHC families from both sides of the Atlantic. That video also got great response and helped many families all over the world.

At that time we decided to make a longer video, 10-15 minutes, that would explain the disease in more detail and started to work on it and to get funding for the film. The funding proved to be quite difficult but in the end it somehow came together but a lot of people either volunteered their work or gave a huge discount. When the project was rolling and we saw that the information we had would possibly be life changing to hundred or even thousands of families and we decided that we would not settle for anything less than a professional grade documentary that would be at least 35 minutes.

The film´s potential also rose when internationally renowned artists like Ólafur Arnalds and Of Monsters and Men offered their music to the film. Our multitalented graphic designer Sigurgeir Arinbjarnarson also surprised us by composing two songs that were needed to escalate the feelings of emotional scenes. Iceland´s best-known actor Ólafur Darri Ólafsson volunteered to narrate a part of the film. Ólafur Darri is a personal friend of the family and has helped us immensely throughout the years.

The making of Human Timebombs was a true roller-coaster ride, a lot of sleepless nights and 2.5 years of work. By the end of filming in the US and Europe and collecting video´s from families all over the globe we had about 70 interviews and 50 hours of material to work with.

To cut the film down to a 35-minute documentary that captured everything we needed to convey was many months of work and a lot of very good film ended up on the director’s floor. We realized this was a waste of precious information so we founded the AHC International Media and opened the website www.ahcim.com where everything we filmed will be open to the public and also we will continue to produce interviews that are of interest to AHC and related diseases.

Human Timebombs was finished in August 2015. The name of the documentary arrives from the fact that AHC kids can have an episode or a seizure at any given moment without warning and are therefore sometimes referred to by some parents as ticking timebombs.

We made a 5 minute version of Human Timebombs that was sent to a short film festival hosted by the Annual Academy of Neurologist in Vancouver this year and it won the First prize and also the Fan Favorite prize. That version is shown at the top of this article.

Agusta Fanney also received an award for Human Timebombs at the Accolade Global Film Competition last year in the category of woman filmmakers.

The film was first aired in public television in June this year by the Icelandic National Broadcasting Service and will be available in Icelandair´s onboard entertainment system from November 1st. Human Timebombs has been translated to10 languages so far.

Human Timebombs has been distributed as a teaching tool to many hospitals in Europe and the US. Hospitals such as Duke University hospital, Vanderbilt, University hospital of Utah, Northwestern, Nemours Children hospital in Orlando, Massachusetts General Hospital and more. We intend to continue to distribute the film to teaching hospitals, if you are interested in receiving a copy for your hospital please contact ahc@ahc.is

AHC is still not known by a majority of neurologists in the world and only a very small percentage of the general public is familiar with rare diseases in general and only a fraction of them know AHC, so it´s fair to say that the disease needs a voice and we hope that Human Timebombs will be that voice. We would also like to help researchers and the public to realize that by finding a treatment for AHC we could very possibly find a treatment for other much more common diseases and help millions of people all over the world improve their quality of life.

If you would like to donate or to help the cause please contact your nearest AHC association www.ahcia.org

For the full article click HERE

The Time-Sucking House Guest

For the last 14 years, my family has lived with a rare disease known as Alternating Hemiplegia of Childhood, or AHC. It took up residence in our home without invitation and will never leave.

Our home has been rearranged, modified, and expanded to accommodate the needs of AHC. We wake up and go to sleep based on AHC’s schedule and our lives have forever been changed. Even though AHC will never be welcome in our home, there are a number of attributes we have grown to appreciate.

AHC is one of 7,000 rare diseases that affect over 30 million Americans. This means that there are a lot of families living with some of the same challenges as me. Some of the hurdles that face the entire community of rare diseases include delay in diagnosis, lack of public awareness and understanding, the need for more research, financial hardship, insurance headaches, educational roadblocks, lack of resources, and a sense of being marginalized. By joining forces with groups like the National Organization for Rare Disorders (NORD), I can learn from their experience and not feel so alone.

On the days when it feels like AHC is taking over our house, I am fortunate to have an amazing group of fellow AHC parents with whom I can connect. My fellow parents have provided me with insight on how to manage new symptoms, seek resources, ask for help, and find strength when I think it no longer exists. These parents have shared stories of their own challenges with such frankness that their kindness is overwhelming. They often share stories that aren’t meant to be funny, but they are. They sometimes come at such unexpected times that they truly make my day.

The time-sucking house guest that is AHC has taught me to spend quality time with those in my house that are not affected with AHC. That would be AHC’s siblings. Siblings can really struggle with how to fit in a family that is being consumed by AHC. To make sure AHC does no more harm, I have learned to keep my true priorities in focus and put spending one-on-one time with my daughter at the top of the list.

And finally, AHC has taught me to learn as much as possible about AHC in order to live with it. When I stopped fighting it and learned to understand it, I gained a much stronger sense of what AHC is really about. By educating myself about AHC, I became a better advocate for my entire family. By joining forces with other AHC families, I became part of a supportive and amazing group. While I will never wish AHC to visit anyone else, I certainly can appreciate where AHC comes from and I can make its stay in my house as calm, loving, and acceptable as possible.

For more information about ANC, visit www.ahckids.org

Written by Vicky Platt, mom to AHC daughter Emma who is adorable, loveable and a true fighter!

For the full article click HERE

Local girl to raise awareness about AHC

By Andrea Rose
When you meet Julianna Shubert, you can tell there is something unique about the 7-year-old.

The petite brunette with big, brown eyes, is very passionate about the things she likes….

For the full article click HERE

Local girl battles rare, debilitating disease

NEW JERSEY (WTXF) – A local girl is battling a rare, debilitating disease. Her mom is fighting to find a cure.

Emilia Schalick is a bubbly, fun loving, affectionate 5-year-old girl with so much personality she lights up any room. Spend a few minutes with her and she’ll melt your heart and you’re a fan forever.

Soon after she was born her mother, Meredith Schalick, noticed something wasn’t quite right. In the recovery room right her eyes were sort of wandering a bit and she was having trouble breathing.

“They brought her to my room about a half hour later she had a blue spell. She stopped breathing altogether,” she told FOX 29.

As Emilia got older she missed some of her developmental milestones.

“We had 7 specialists working with us and we couldn’t figure out what it was,” Meredith explained.

They did brain scans, tests and MRIs but everything came back normal. That’s when Kristy researched online and found an article that sort of matched her symptoms 2 and a half years later, Emilia was diagnosed with alternating hemiplegia of childhood or AHC.

“A rare neurological development disorder that’s characterized by recurrent episodes,” CHOP neurologist Dr. Katherine Taub said.

Dr. Katherine Taub is a neurologist at Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia and she’s been helping Emilia since the beginning.

“It wasn’t until she was working with her occupational therapist at the Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia who witnessed a few episodes of weakness,” her mother said.

Emilia goes to CHOP at Virtua in Voorhees for therapy once a week with longtime therapist Kristy Pucci. Like others with AHC, Emilia has episodes of paralysis once or twice a week.

“When we started working together especially in the pool she would have these periods of just becoming completely almost paralyzed. A limp doll.”

Living with AHC is a challenge. It’s a debilitating disease while the disease is diagnosed before a child is 2, kids don’t grow out of it. Emilia’s mom worries about Emilia’s future while she is used to the episodes they are still scary.

These episodes happen once or twice a day for Emilia but when there are changes in weather or she gets over-stimulated they can increase. The episodes can last for a few minutes or hours but if Emilia can sleep she’s back to normal.

Emilia’s mom, a law professor at Rutgers law school in Camden, is patient, compassionate and determined to raise awareness and find a cure for this debilitating disease.

Despite the fact that Emilia has a potentially devastating and rare disease she triumphs over the limitations of her condition in amazing ways.

If you want to learn more about AHC or support medical research for a cure, please visit http://ahckids.org/.

Louise Prouse – London 2015

Louise Prouse, mother of Toby, was interviewed by AHCIM in May 2015 in London, UK

The purpose of AHC International Library is to collect information about AHC and related disorders and make them visible for everyone.

Doctors, researchers and family can share information on this media and together we can help each other get closer to the goal of having an effective treatment for AHC.

AHCIM will continue to interview interested parties that have information on AHC or related disorders to share .

For more information: www.ahcim.com

Contact us at ahc@ahc.is

Sparks Family – Minneapolis 2014

The Sparks family was interviewed by AHCIM in Minneapolis 2014

“Doctors have told us that there is no such thing as AHC”

The purpose of AHC International Media is to collect information about AHC and related disorders and make them visible for everyone.

Doctors, researchers and family can share information on this media and together we can help each other get closer to the goal of having an effective treatment for AHC.

AHCIM will continue to interview interested parties that have information on AHC or related disorders to share .

For more information: www.ahcim.com

Contact us at ahc@ahc.is

Tara Newcomb – Minneapolis 2014

Tara Newcomb, Genetic counsellor, was interviewed by AHCIM in July 2014

The purpose of AHC International Library is to collect information about AHC and related disorders and make them visible for everyone.

Doctors, researchers and family can share information on this media and together we can help each other get closer to the goal of having an effective treatment for AHC.

AHCIM will continue to interview interested parties that have information on AHC or related disorders to share .

For more information: www.ahcim.com

Contact us at ahc@ahc.is

Dr Kenneth Silver

Dr. Kenneth Silver was interviewed by AHCIM in July 2014

The purpose of AHC International Library is to collect information about AHC and related disorders and make them visible for everyone.

Doctors, researchers and family can share information on this media and together we can help each other get closer to the goal of having an effective treatment for AHC.

AHCIM will continue to interview interested parties that have information on AHC or related disorders to share .

For more information: www.ahcim.com

Contact us at ahc@ahc.is