Last fall Briana Silver went off to Eastern Illinois University a healthy college freshman. In November she was diagnosed with Mononucleosis. That led to Lemierre’s Syndrome, a disease so rare there’s only been approximately 160 cases reported in the last 100 years.
“Her throat [got] infected,” said her father, Scott Silver. “Blood [clotted] on the left side of her neck and spread throughout her body and shut it down.”
She was in and out of three hospitals and spent 13 days in a medically induced coma. Briana fought back and her health began to improve.
“When your child’s on her deathbed and you know she’s not going to make it, it’s huge,” Silver said. “Thank God she was a swimmer here at the pool to help her lungs, because they were the first thing to come back.”
Those that share her passion for the pool are helping out, not only through words of encouragement, but through their actions. They’re swimming for 12 consecutive hours at Maplebrook 2 Swim and Racquet Club. With every lap a donation is made to the Silver family to offset medical costs.
“I swam 54 laps earlier today and I have a half hour later,” said 13-year old Ryan Culhane. “I hope to swim 50 more laps then.”
The initial goal was 2,500 laps. Halfway through the day the swimmers had left more than 6,000 lengths of the pool in their wake.
“I will get back in the pool,” said Briana Silver. “To know they are doing this for me is huge.”
Optimistically, she’ll make a full recovery. She’s relearning how to walk and talk by going to therapy every week-admittedly something Briana didn’t want to do, but something that has changed her path in life.
“At first I thought it was stupid,” said Silver. “Then I realized it’s helping and I want to be a therapist now.”
What she may or may not realize is she is already helping. Through her determination and no quit attitude, she’s making people believe that anything is possible.
As for the final lap count? 8,791. Together the swimmers raised $5,600 and swam a distance of nearly 125 miles.
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