By Kim Walter -- firstname.lastname@example.org
Though he won't be in attendance, a balloon launch is taking place Thursday night in Strasburg to support 14-year-old Sammy Deck.
Sammy was diagnosed with epilepsy in early 2011, and later on in the same year was diagnosed with Guillain Barre Syndrome and chronic inflammatory demyelinating polyneuropathy. All conditions affect his nervous system, and the most recent diagnoses are longterm illnesses with no known cure.
Sammy is allergic to most seizure medicines, and instead is treated with immunoglobulin therapy through an IV. He receives treatments periodically with five bags at a time, each bag costing about $8,000.
His family lived in Strasburg until last year, when they moved to Wardensville, W.Va., "due to financial burdens from his illness," said family friend Julie Smith.
Smith said Sammy has been at the University of Virginia Medical Center in Charlottesville the past week, and his family is thinking about bringing him home and bringing in care for him there.
Lisa Seal, who organized the balloon launch, said "things are not looking well for him."
Sammy's favorite colors are those of the Pittsburgh Steelers -- black and yellow -- so those are the colors of the balloons that will be released.
Seal said she and her mother have close to 150 balloons to give out, but those who attend are welcome to bring more. She is also making T-shirts, and said a few preachers will speak at the event.
The launch will take place at the Church of the Valley at 2128 John Marshall Highway in Strasburg at 7 p.m. The gathering isn't so much about donations as it is about prayer and support for Sammy and his family, Seal said.
Donations to help Sammy can be made to a fund the family set up through First Bank in Strasburg.