Tuesday, October 27, 2009
Influenza Vaccine Disables Washington Redskins cheerleader
She's a beautiful young woman and former Washington Redskins cheerleader whose heartbreaking story is shocking the nation. 26-year-old Desiree Jennings showed INSIDE EDITION reporter Les Trent how she can't walk without twisty, jerky movements... although she can walk backwards perfectly normally. Doctors say she has a rare, one-in-a-million neurological disorder that was triggered 10 days after she got a seasonal flu shot. She said she could not eat without passing out. INSIDE EDITION visited Desiree and her husband Brendan at their home in Ashburn, Virginia to see what their daily life is like. Desiree has to go up and down stairs backwards because something as simple as walking forward can be dangerous. Here's what makes her disorder even more bizarre. She runs with a normal stride and while running she can even speak normally. But when she finally stops, the spasms start. Desiree got a flu shot on August 23. Ten days later she came down with what doctors have diagnosed as dystonia, a rare neurological disorder. Her jerking and twisting are the result of uncontrollable muscle contractions. There is no known cure.
Doctors say what happened to Desiree shouldn't discourage people from getting flu shots. But the woman who's on the wrong side of being "one-in-a-million" says, "[Running] is the only thing I have left."
To donate to Desiree's recovery fund or just learn more about her story, go to: