What was initially believed to be a mild headache following a routine football practice has turned into a tragedy for one Iowa family when their 14-year-old son died on Tuesday.
Doctors at University of Iowa Stead Family Children's Hospital concluded that Christopher Bunch died following complications from Acute Disseminated Encephalomyelitis (ADEM), a rare neurological disease.
Medical experts say that the disease, which is extremely difficult to treat due to its rarity, typically appears after an infection.
Christopher's parents (Pictured: Destiny Maynard and Elijah Bunch) knew something was wrong when he spent the next 48 hours sleeping and rushed him to the emergency room
Christopher's parents were shocked to see their son's rapid deterioration following his football practice last Tuesday.
'If anything, I was thinking he's probably just really dehydrated,' Destiny Maynard, Bunch's mother, told WQAD.com.
But they understood something was terribly wrong when Christopher would spend the next 48 hours sleeping, and rushed him to the emergency room in order to figure out what was wrong.
Unfortunately, Christopher's condition only deteriorated while in care.
'His progression went from zero to one hundred in a matter of four hours,' Elijah Mendoza Bunch, Christopher's father, told the publication.
Shortly after being admitted to the Stead Family Children's Hospital, Christopher began losing the ability to breath and suffered complete paralysis on the left side of his body.
He underwent brain swelling on August 11 to relieve the pressure on his brain but still remained in critical condition, according to Fox News.
ADEM typically affects children and may be preceded by a viral or bacterial infection. It can also occur after a vaccination, with symptoms ranging from confusion, drowsiness or coma, unsteadiness, vision issues, trouble swallowing or weakness of the arms and legs.
According to a Facebook post by Christopher's mother, the teenager, who was set to begin his freshman year in high school in the fall, had recently suffered from an infection and later received a vaccine shot.
Two days after doctors diagnosed Christopher with a brain herniation, the teenager was pronounced dead
Two days after doctors diagnosed Christopher with a brain herniation, which Elijah described as 'the worst news I could ever receive,' the teenager was pronounced dead.
'We are so upset to say this, but our gorgeous son Christopher Bunch has gone to be with God at 1:02pm,' Elija wrote in a social media message.
'Please Lord look over my son and take good care of him. My son I love you so much and I will always and forever love you and keep you in my heart,' he added
Friends and family described Christopher as a charismatic young man with a big heart and dreams of making an impact on social media.
'One of his dreams was to make it big on YouTube,' said Elijah.
Shortly after Christopher's death was announced by the family, Christopher's mother posted a heartfelt message saying goodbye to her son.
'Well my son Christopher Bunch your dream is coming true buddy,' Mendoza posted on Wednesday. 'You now have over 3,000 views on your vlog on YouTube. This is only the beginning my boy. Just make sure that in heaven you are vlogging like crazy. Dad loves you always and forever my blonde hair blue eyed boy.'
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