Meet AHC Champion Andre (Germany)

Meet AHC Champion Andre (Germany)

AHC-Champion-Andre-Germany-story-6-15-g1-225x300My name is Dennis Thurner. My wife Laura & I adopted AHC Champion Andre (Germany) in 2004. He was born to parents who were severely alcoholic and could not raise him. He had fetal alcohol syndrome and seizures that the doctors attributed to this syndrome at first. Andre had many other symptoms, however, so we began to visit doctor after doctor to try and figure out what else was troubling Andre.

We started regularly seeing doctors at Vogterreuht hospital after a diagnosis of epilepsy. However, Andre continued to have episodes that the medicines did not touch. Finally in 2010 we met some doctors who made the diagnosis AHC.

In April, 2010 I immigrated to Canada for work. My wife Laura followed with our 3 children (including Andre) in September. When we registered the children for public school, we were surprised that Andre was able to attend the same school with a special needs teacher (named Lisa) assigned to him. All 3 of our children loved their Canadian school, but especially Andre did. He made some “best friends” there.

AHC-Champion-Andre-Germany-story-6-15k-225x300Unfortunately at the time one of our children was still foster status, so the family could only stay with me a year. Thus in late 2011 my wife, Andre, and the other kids returned to Germany. We enrolled Andre in a school for the disabled. As Christmas approached, the teachers attempted to test Andre’s developmental progress. He had to identify some holiday symbols by name. At first he was testing well below where he was in Canada. However, when they gave the test in English instead of in German, Andre was able to correctly assign each word!

My wife Laura connected with the AHC Association of Germany, which holds an annual meeting near the University Hospital Göttingen. In 2012 they did some patient testing that confirmed that Andre has AHC (ATP1A3 mutation). Six months after leaving, Laura and the kids were able to come back to Canada. We were overcome with emotions when Andre returned to his Canadian school, as shouts of “Andre is back” echoed throughout the whole school!

AHC-Champion-Andre-Germany-story-6-15-e-300x225Andre continues to have many developmental and movement problems. Andre speaks only a few words, and 80 percent in English. When he is seizure free, he runs everywhere, but other times he requires a wheelchair. His favorite place is on the window sill so he can spend time watching the street. His favorite cars are great coaches he also has a large collection of buses.

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