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Amazing community support for Stevens

Colby Stevens of Pugwash remains a patient at the Nova Scotia Rehabilitation Centre in Halifax after being diagnosed with a rare autoimmune disease last August. A gofundme campaign for the 21-year-old former athlete at Pugwash District High School netted $5,800 in just 24 hours.
Colby Stevens of Pugwash remains a patient at the Nova Scotia Rehabilitation Centre in Halifax after being diagnosed with a rare autoimmune disease last August. A gofundme campaign for the 21-year-old former athlete at Pugwash District High School netted $5,800 in just 24 hours.

PUGWASH, N.S. – Blaine Reid continues to be amazed with his community’s generosity.

Earlier this week, the Pugwash native kicked off a fundraising campaign to support Colby Stevens. Using the social media site gofundme, he hoped to raise $5,000 to support his  21-year-old friend.

Earlier this week, the Pugwash native kicked off a fundraising campaign to support Colby Stevens. Using the social media site gofundme, he hoped to raise $5,000 to support his  21-year-old friend.

Less than 24 hours later, the campaign was at the $5,800 mark and by Thursday afternoon it was over $6,500.

“It’s amazing, this community has been so supportive,” Reid said. “Small town Nova Scotia has not had an easy go in the last year or so and there have been so many families affected by major adversity in one way or another. The fact our community has achieved this despite the adversity is so inspiring.”

Stevens was one of Pugwash’s top young athletes. He was a key ingredient in soccer and basketball championships won by the Pugwash District High Panthers. There really wasn’t a school sport he didn’t excel in.

That changed suddenly last August when he was diagnosed with a rare autoimmune disease more likely in children than healthy teenagers.

Stevens began to feel unwell on Aug. 8, exhibiting flu-like symptoms that worsened over the next 24 hours and he became disoriented and unresponsive. He was rushed to hospital in Amherst and doctors were struggling to come up with a diagnosis.

It took several weeks and three different medical facilities to confirm the diagnosis of acute disseminated encephalomyelitis. While doctors believe significant recovery is possible, the severity of his case has left large lesions on his brain and he has few motor skills or cognitive function.

“He’s one of the best athletes to ever play for PDHS. It’s been very difficult to see him go through this,” Reid said. “He’s such a good guy. Fortunately he has an amazing family and extended family to be there with him every step of the way.”

After four months at the QEII Health Sciences Centre in Halifax Stevens was moved to the Nova Scotia Rehabilitation Centre and has shown improvement in his cognitive ability and he is able to do more physically.

“He loves visits from his close friends and family members and can often be found with a big grin on his face when in the company of loved ones,” said Reid, who has been Stevens’ friend since they were children. “The courage and willpower that he and his family have shown throughout the last five months has been absolutely incredible. The community of Pugwash has been so supportive and words cannot express how truly grateful the Stevens family is for all the support.”

Money raised by the campaign will support his parents’ (Glen Stevens and Susan Smith) frequent trips back and forth to Halifax to be with their son. It will also support Stevens’ eventual return to his home in Pugwash.

To make a contribution, go to: https://www.gofundme.com/colbys-medical-fund .

To learn more about ADEM, go to: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mrlk7FWOj7Q

darrell.cole@tc.tc

Twitter: @ADNdarrell

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