My name is Alonzo Richie Caudill; I was born Feb 4th 1979. I am now 33 years old. But on September 25, 1983 when I was only 4 yrs. old, I was a batboy for my dad when he was playing softball. I caught a fever so my mom decided to take me to the hospital. By the time I got to the hospital my temperature already shot up to 111. I was in Sacred Heart hospital in Pensacola, Florida. They had to lay me on bags of ice too try and get my temperature down, I already slipped into a coma by then. My hands and legs had already started turning purple and my part of my ear was even falling off.
The doctors told my family that I could go at any time. Until a doctor discovered that I had a rare form of meningitis. It’s called meningococcemia. What it does is it stops blood flowing in certain parts of your body and sets up gangrene. Even though the doctors realized what I had they still couldn’t do anything because I was in a coma. After a couple months in the coma I eventually came out. So the doctors knew it was a miracle that I was still there and they knew what they had to do. The first two kids that had this type of meningitis had died so they we’re glad that I’d made it this far. The doctors decided to save has much arms and legs has they could for me. They amputated both my hands then my legs. I also had to get a flap put from my chest to my left arm, because my skin fell off my left arm. After a bunch of surgeries I was finally able to go home. I got on my dad’s t-ball team for a couple years, and then at the age of 11, meningitis hit me again. It was a side effect from it that I started having Grand Mal seizures. My seizures started when we were playing outside and I just passed out. The doctors told me it was a side effect from the meningitis. They got so bad I started having five seizures a day; it came to the point where I couldn’t be left alone. But I didn’t let it stop me. I wrestled for my middle school, but eventually I did have to quit because of the seizures. After 17 years, I was tired of having seizures. I went to Shands hospital in Gainesville, Florida to have brain surgery. It has been several years now and no seizures. I now have my license and live a pretty normal life. I go to the gym about every day to shoot basketball. If you want to see me shoot go to Richie-b/ballin on Youtube. Just remember one thing that disability is only a word, drop the first 3 letters and you have “ABILITY”! And for all the ones who have lost love ones because of meningitis all I can say is I know where you stand. Just remember there in a better place waiting for you, and that day will come. We just all have to wait. You will all be in my thoughts and prayers.