Photo Gallery | Luke Shines at Jaguars Practice

This past Holiday season, Luke Akerstrom was a normal five-year-old doing normal five-year-old things.  During an unforgettable car ride on New Year’s Eve everything would change for Luke and his family.

Luke went into a seizure that lasted 35 minutes. The seizure came after a few days of not feeling well, with a low grade fever. After hours of tests and anxiety Luke’s parents, Magnus and Brandi Akerstrom, received Luke’s diagnosis, it was Spinal Meningitis.

For the next few days Luke would continue to fight the infection ravaging his brain and spinal cord. He was being treated for the meningitis, but a new obstacle presented itself. The meningitis caused Encephalitis, swelling of Luke’s brain. Luke and his family were in for an even bigger fight.

According to Brandi, the seizure destroyed the left side of Luke’s body and caused necrosis, premature death of Luke’s brain tissue and cells. The Akerstrom’s were told Luke would never walk or talk again.

Fast forward to August 2011 and Luke is now six-years-old. Today Luke attended Jaguars practice surrounded by friends, family, doctors and some very special new friends, the Meester’s.

While Luke was in recovery at Wolfson Children's Hospital, Brad Meester happened to come in for a visit with the young patients. Meester saw Luke from a distance and Luke was crying, but when Meester went in Luke’s room, his tears stopped and Luke’s warm personality shined through.  An immediate bond was created. Since that day, almost eight months ago, the entire Messter family has cheered Luke on in his fight for recovery. The Meester’s continue to support Luke and his family on their amazing journey. Brad Meester arranged for Luke’s special day at practice and also arranged for a post-practice private lunch with the Jaguars.

Luke has made leaps and bounds on his road to recovery. Luke can talk, stand on his own and is making progress towards walking. At practice today Luke spent time with the community that has supported him in his recovery, but more importantly Luke was able to play with other kids and do normal six-year-old things.

For more information about Luke’s journey and how to help, visit prayforluke.com.

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