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Teen Dies After Being Diagnosed With Rare Disease He Thought Was A Headache

Christopher Bunch/Facebook, Elijah E Mendoza/Facebook

Whether you're prone to headaches or not, we've all experienced the crushing pain pounding in our forehead at one time or another.

Although there are products to alleviate the discomfort we feel during an episode, sometimes our symptoms aren't actually from a migraine at all.

Devastatingly, this was the case for an Iowa teenager who passed away after being diagnosed with a rare disease he originally thought was just simply a headache.

"If anything, I was thinking he's probably just really dehydrated."

Christopher Bunch, 14, was about to start his freshman year of high school when he alerted his parents that his head began to hurt following football practice.

"If anything, I was thinking he's probably just really dehydrated," Christopher's mother, Destiny Maynard, told WQAD.

According to his father, Elijah Bunch, he and Maynard knew something was wrong when their son slept for the greater part of 48 hours.

"His progression went from zero to one hundred in a matter of four hours," he said, adding that the rushed Christopher to the hospital.

Once there, their worsts fears were confirmed when doctors them Christopher was suffering from acute disseminated encephalomyelitis (ADEM) disease.

"From that point on, everything just spiraled downhill."

The condition is a rare autoimmune disease that is characterized by a "brief but widespread attack of inflammation in the brain and spinal cord," according to the National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke.

He was immediately placed in the ICU of the University of Iowa Stead Family Children's Hospital in Iowa City, where doctors said it was the worst case they've seen yet, adding that on average only six cases are diagnosed every year.

"From that point on, everything just spiraled downhill," Elijah said of his aspiring YouTube star son.

"He wanted to be known, and he wanted to be famous," he continued. "He would have been one way or another."

"I'm so happy we had 14 beautiful years with him, but I'm so mad that's all that we got."

"I'm just broken now."

Tragically, Christopher passed away on August 14, to the devastation of his entire family.

His heartbroken mother announced his son's death on Facebook, writing: "As of 1:02 pm on 8/14/18, Christopher Bunch has went to Heaven. RIP my baby."

As of 1:02pm On 8/14/18 Christopher Bunch has went to Heaven. RIP my baby

Posted by Destiny Maynard on Tuesday, August 14, 2018

"My heart is so torn into pieces. I am just broken now. I miss my Christopher Bunch so freaking much," Elijah said in a separate Facebook post. "I want my boy to come home and jump on the couch to watch home swapping shows. I cannot even fathom on how to go on. R.I.P. my sweet blonde blue eyed boy."

Although Christopher was only a young teenager when he passed away, Destiny said her son had already made a difference in the lives of others.

"How to love people with open arms, and how to live your life and be the best you – (that's) what he did every day," Destiny said.

Rest in peace Christopher, our thoughts and prayers are with your family and friends during this difficult time.

[H/T: WQAD, Fox News]

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