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Illinois 8-year-old recovering from rare but severe illness linked to COVID-19

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NILES, Ill. (WGN) — As COVID-19 continues to spread, one Illinois family shared their experience with what doctors now believe was a rare but severe illness linked to the new coronavirus.

It’s been five months to the day since Kendrick Moore, second grader, started feeling sick. And his mother said he’s not out of the woods yet.

Kendrick, of Niles, is like most children his age. He’s a typical 8-year-old who likes video games.

Samantha Geer said her son has asthma but explained that never stopped him from excelling in martial arts.

One of three students at his martial arts dojo to achieve the rank of Grand Master in the Ninja Turtles Age Group which is above a black belt,” she said.

She said it was surprising for her when Kendrick started getting sick back in late March. He got so sick she rushed him to the hospital.

“When we got there, his heart was at 30% function, his organs were completely shutting down,” she said.

Kendrick never had any breathing issues, but his mom said his body went into overdrive.

“Every organ shut down, his liver took a hit, his kidneys took a hit, his pancreas,” she said. “We ended up 12 days at the PICU at Lutheran General Hospital.”

At that time, doctors couldn’t figure out what was wrong.

“They were on a message board with hundreds of other ICUs and at the time they hadn’t seen this in the children yet, at this time it was just being seen in England,” Greer said.

Kendrick’s COVID-19 test came back negative, but doctors now believe the 8-year-old Niles boy was experiencing the illness called multisystem inflammatory syndrome in children. It usually appears two to four weeks after the onset of COVID-19 in children.

All of his physicians have said clinically this is exactly what he had,” Greer said. “He cannot have the antibody test because he received IVIG treatment in the hospital which is other people’s antibodies to kind of jumpstart his own immune system again, so they wouldn’t know whose antibodies were testing positive.”

Kendrick will need to see specialists for years to come and he has some lingering effects.

“His hair kind of all fell out too, this is all that’s growing back. His hair just kind of comes out,” Kendrick’s mother said.

But five months later, this soon-to-be third grader is feeling much better. His last two check-ups show his heart is stable.

He’s even been given the approval to practice martial arts virtually again.

However, Kendrick won’t be going into the classroom anytime soon.

“If he can get it again, and that’s how his body reacted the first time, we don’t know what it would do to him a second time,” his mother said.

Kendrick hadn’t left the house for two weeks prior to when he started feeling sick. His mother just wants people to know this can happen to anyone.

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