Rihanna Jones was an outgoing athlete student who was always happy to go to school.
All of a sudden, however, this healthy teenager started to act strange. She exhibited so many odd behaviors that her parents did not know what to do.
Nothing had happened to her, yet she was an entirely different person.
When she was in sixth grade, Rihanna started to experience anxiety and ticks. She had separation anxiety, which led her to pull out her own hair. She even started to hide under desks at school.
Who was once recognized as a national gymnastics champion and a starting softball pitcher simply could not handle anything.
In addition to her family, Rihanna’s peers and teachers started to worry – but her symptoms did not seem to get better.
In fact, it continued to get worse.
As a result, Rihanna became depressed and suicidal by the time she was in high school. Since no one could figure out this mystery illness, even after she visited 15 different doctors, Rihanna gave up. And her parents were there, seeing their beloved daughter slowly losing hope.
After Rihanna had another suicide attempt, her parents were getting ready to put her in a group home.
Then, one unforgettable phone call changed everything.
It was from one of her aunts, who were trying to figure out why her young niece had all these problems.
As you can see from the video, she came across something during her research.
It was a blog post by a mother who wrote about her son’s experience of suffering an illness. When she read the symptoms he had experienced, Rihanna’s aunt realized that he had the same thing as Rihanna.
She immediately called Rihanna’s parents to tell her about the disease. When they heard about it, they took Rihanna to another doctor and asked to be tested.
It turned out that Rihanna had a rare disease called the PANDAS, which is short for Pediatric Autoimmune Neuropsychiatric Disorders Associated with Streptococcal Infections.
Back when she was a sixth grader, Rihanna did have a strep throat. And this common disease had apparently made Rihanna’s body attack her own body.
Within a week, all of her symptoms completely went away.
After what they went through, Rihanna and her family want to raise awareness about PANDAS.