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Marshall club gives Xbox, games to boy recovering from serious condition

Apr. 17, 2013 @ 11:02 PM

HUNTINGTON -- It's not every day that a kid receives a brand-new Xbox with Kinect and a handful of games to go along with it.

Of course, it's also not every day that 6-year-old Avery Patterson gets to celebrate being home for the first full week in more than a month after treatment and rehabilitation for the effects of Guillain-Barre syndrome, or GBS.

GBS is a disorder that occurs when the body's immune system mistakenly attacks part of the nervous system, which leads to nerve inflammation that causes muscle weakness and other symptoms, according to the National Library of Medicine.

Members of the Marshall University Gaming Club presented Patterson with the gaming system Wednesday night in hopes that it will become a part of his continued recovery, said Valerie Malcomb, president of the club.

Several members of the club also are students of Avery's father, Brent Patterson, who teaches new media and graphic design at Marshall, and that was how they heard about Avery.

"The gaming community is very inclusive, so when we heard about how much Avery likes video games and how much they were helping him in the hospital, we couldn't go without helping him however we could," said Malcomb.

Avery endured a month's worth of symptoms before he was diagnosed in early February.

Brent Patterson said Avery was essentially paralyzed by the time he was transported to Nationwide Children's Hospital in Columbus on Feb. 4.

The diagnosis marked the second time Avery Patterson would be treated for GBS. He was diagnosed with and recovered from the disorder in 2010, when he was 3-years-old, his father said.

"When your child is falling ill, as a parent, it is the worst thing," said Brent Patterson. "When your child is getting better and back to their normal self, it is the best thing you can experience.

"This is just a strange illness. It's kind of a fire that has to burn itself out."

Avery was released from Nationwide Children's Hospital a little more than a week-and-a-half ago, and he continues to make progress, said Brent Patterson.

Other than a little bit of jealousy from his three siblings, Brent Patterson said he expects the gaming equipment to be a big hit and help in their household.

He described the gift as the latest in a long series of support from family, friends and even some complete strangers.

"I cannot give back all of the good that so many people have given to our family," he said. "I am so indebted to so many people, who were willing to give their time, food and everything, and we, as a family, are so thankful for where we are."

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