PANDASSPRINGFIELD-  Eighth birthdays are extremely important to children. It’s supposed to be a day full of cake, presents and friends. However, this wasn’t the case for Charlie on his eighth birthday.

Charlie woke up on his birthday with Pediatric Autoimmune Neuropsychiatric Disorder Associated with Streptococcal Infections (PANDAS). The little boy who once loved performing in talent shows and putting on skits was now scared of crowds and talking to his friends. There was an immediate change in his personality.

PANDAS is characterized by a sudden onset of symptoms associated with Obsessive Compulsive Disorder, Tourette’s Syndrome and other tics after a child has had a strep infection. Symptoms range from severe separation anxiety to motor tics that appear similar to seizures and hallucinations. The symptoms are severe enough to prevent children from attending school.

After two months of looking for answers, a doctor diagnosed Charlie with Pediatric Autoimmune Neuropsychiatric Disorder Associated with Streptococcal Infections (PANDAS).

Early detection is key. After observing Charlie, his mother Kate Drury was quickly able to diagnosis her younger son with PANDAS when he displayed early symptoms.

To raise awareness and educate medical professionals, State Senator Tom Cullerton (D-Villa Park) passed Senate Resolution 237 to designate October 9 of 2015 and 2016 as PANS, PANDAS, and PITAND Awareness Day in the State of Illinois.

“Education is essential to early detection. I have three young children at home, stories similar to Charlie’s display the immediate need to educate medical professionals and the general public on the PANDAS symptoms,” said Cullerton. “No one wants to see children suffer. The faster we diagnose children affected by PANDAS, the quicker we can begin treatment.”

PANDAS is potentially a lifelong disease that is estimated to affect nearly 175,000 children and adolescents in Illinois. It has even been found in adults.

SR 237 passed the Senate unanimously. 

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Welcome to the official website of Senator Tom Cullerton. Please fill out our contact form to contact Senator Cullerton directly or you may call either of our offices. We look forward to hearing from you.

District Office
338 S. Ardmore Ave.
Villa Park, IL 60181
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Springfield, IL 62706
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