Georgetown woman battling rare neurological disease

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GEORGETOWN, S.C. (WBTW) — DeShanta Castle, from Georgetown, has been diagnosed with a rare neurological brain disease that has held her in the hospital since July. Her family said this experience is something they wouldn’t wish on anyone.

“Everybody that meets her, falls in love with her. She is just one of the best,” Shunda Castle, DeShanta’s mother, said.

Life for 25-year-old DeShanta was flipped upside down after being diagnosed with a rare neurological disease called Anti-NMDA-Receptor Encephalitis. 

“We were under the impression that she was just under stress,” DeShanta’s aunt, Stacey Wilson, said. “Unbeknownst to us, though, she was suffering from something more rare, something more critical, and we had no idea of it.”

With this disease, the body creates antibodies that disrupts the NMDA receptors in the brain. These receptors are critical for human interaction and storing memory, as well as controlling breathing and swallowing.

DeShanta was diagnosed in July. The cause being a teratoma tumor in her ovaries. She’s been in the hospital ever since, dependent on a ventilator and unable to get out of bed.

“Prior to her illness, she had goals, she was an otherwise healthy woman, not no one could have foreseen this,” Wilson said.

Following her diagnosis, DeShanta’s speech, memory, body movement, and breathing have been impacted. Her family said she hasn’t spoken since July. She also had both ovaries removed and underwent multiple treatments.

“We’re being sustained by our faith, holding on to our faith and our family and just praying and claiming her victory in this but it’s hard. It’s hard on everyone,” Shunda said.

The family said the road to recovery could take anywhere from months to years. DeShanta will need respiratory rehabilitation to get her off the ventilator, as well as physical, behavioral and speech therapy. However, doctors expect a full recovery. 

“It could be up to two years before she is fully restored back to baseline,” Wilson said. “But we’re holding steadfast to the news that she can recover as rare as this disease.”

A GoFundMe has been set up to offset the cost of Deshanta’s medical treatments, hospitalization, rehabilitation expenses, and other miscellaneous expenses. 

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