Jacob Savoie is a determined and hard working college student in south Louisiana, balancing both a full semester of courses and work.  It’s during one hectic Mardi Gras season that Jacob’s busy life and low immune system would collide, contracting a mysteriously rare illness.  Although, at first, it seemed to be just a cold or flu, it quickly became a downward spiral.

As days passed, it was Jacob’s inability to eat, drink, or even talk, which started to raise the concerns of the family. The day that he called home to talk about Jacob, the family was at home enjoying the festivities of the annual Mardi Gras parade, which passed in front their home. When the time finally came for his parents, Keith and Jackie, to leave home for the hospital, police officers had to be brought in to clear a crowd to exit for the interstate.

After several agonizing tests at the hospital, the neurologist diagnosed Jacob with Encephalitis.

Encephalitis [en-sef-uh-lahy-tis], noun. Def:  An acute inflammation of the brain which can cause flu-like symptoms, such as a fever or severe headaches, as well as confused thinking, seizures, or problems with senses or movement. (1)

Not only did Jacob’s physical appearance change without eating, the same thing also happened to his personal character and memory.  For days, Jacob could barely talk, only putting together short, incomplete sentences before zoning out.  He couldn’t remember his family’s names and instead called them by a number.  

During Jacob’s recovery at the hospital, each of his family members took turns sleeping on the small visitor bed to watch over and keep him company. Since he had lost the ability to identify common items, family then labeled every possible item in his room with duct tape and a marker. 

When Jacob was finally released and sent home, the family continued to watch over him closely, often surprised daily by his questionable actions.  Over time, the negative effects of Jacob’s encephalitis continued to grow, which no one could control or predict.  

At work, Jackie was taking multiple phone calls from Jacob every day, each call a new idea or question.  Many of Jacob’s friends were personally offended when he couldn’t remember who they were.  

After several months staying at home, Jacob took the next steps and moved back to campus to complete his last term of college.  It's there that Jacob's surprising actions continue, making surprising decisions that some would find odd but her doesn't think is wrong at all.  This includes selling furniture on the side of street & picking up college hikers he never met coming down the Mississippi River for a place to stay!

Finally, Jacob’s biggest challenge came when he enrolled in a summer course to prepare him for his repeat of his final semester, upcoming in the fall.  For the short eight week semester, he was put to the test to show that he had healed enough to learn, study, and apply his brain functions back to the task at hand – a college degree.  

After he proudly passed the course, he was ready for the fall semester and his recovery was nearly complete, coming full circle back to school.  His graduation day came in December and the entire family was there to cheer for him on that memorable day.

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