San Mateo County, CA

Infected: 1991
Diagnosed: 2005
Current Health: “Putting one foot in front of the other. I am not 100% but I have a life. I am able to think again.”

Don’t try to do it on your own. It’s too hard. Get help. –Ari S.

Ari, now 26, first got ill when he was just 12 years old. An active and inquisitive little boy he spent most of his time outdoors exploring. He loved playing with his family dogs both indoors and out and they did sleep with him in his bed.

When Ari first got sick it started with headaches and exhaustion. “Not just tired, bone-tired,” explains his mother. “There were days when I had to feed him because he couldn’t hold the spoon.” Ari and Dannie_young_312He had horrible headaches and nausea that later turned into vomiting. He often missed school. Weeks of sickness soon became months. And then his sister also started having disturbing symptoms. Not the same symptoms, but persistent and debilitating illness that baffled their pediatrician. There was never a rash or known tick-bite on either child. And Lyme disease just wasn’t considered to be a reality in California. Ari’s mother continued to research, repeatedly asking the pediatrician whether the children might have Lyme disease. The doctor dismissed this possibility.

Over the next five years the two young children were seen by more than 23 doctors and tested for everything from immune deficiencies to multiple sclerosis (MS). They were treated for chronic fatigue syndrome (CFS) and believed to have become ill by a toxic mold due to water damage from a plumbing leak in their home.

Ari Steele_India treatmentFinally, in 2005, still battling sickness, they were both tested and diagnosed with Lyme disease (and a myriad of related tick-borne co-infections). Sadly, the diagnosis only led to years of more failed treatment. After the damaging assault from the toxic mold, and with the bacteria having established such a stronghold in their bodies, the Lyme infection was now hard to fight.

In 2012 and 2014, Ari had three rounds of human embryonic stem cell(HESC) transplants concurrent with extensive physical and neurological therapy. He follows a stringent care regimen that includes three to four rounds of antibiotics and other prescriptions every day. He is back at school trying to catch up on all the years he missed, has recently discovered a passion for photography that puts him back into the nature he adores, and is even working out at the gym and regaining stamina, hoping to have finally turned the corner on this frustrating illness.

In March 2015, Ari and his mother joined Cheryl Jennings, SF Bay Area ABC7 news anchor, to talk about Lyme Disease in an effort to increase awareness about the reality of this disease and its prevalence throughout the United States.

Watch the clip here:

(You can also click here: http://abc7news.com/health/beyond-the-headlines-lyme-disease/242626/)

Hopefully the dark days are behind Ari, but here he shares a “day-in-the-life” when things weren’t so promising… You can track Ari’s (and his sister’s) progress on this website (HelpAriandDannie.com) created by family friends.

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