When first diagnosed with Pompe disease five years ago, the news was dismal. With muscles growing more and more dysfunctional, doctors in Saddle Brook, NJ told Mike he would never leave the hospital. He would certainly never breathe without a ventilator again.
But with one call to Dr. Barry Byrne, UF pediatric cardiologist and avid researcher, his prognosis changed. Over the course of the past twenty years, Dr. Byrne has been the recipient of several federal and foundation-level research grants which fund his construction of a stern foundation in genetic breakthroughs that could one day lead to the cure to Pompe disease and other muscular generative diseases.
For Mike this breakthrough was a diaphragmatic pacemaker which allows him to do the unthinkable—breathe on his own for up to an hour at a time. Because of this, on October 14th, 2011 Mike was able to return home to his wife and son for the first time in four years. Though Dr. Byrne will tell you this is only the first step of many towards finding a cure, for Mike it’s the miracle that brought him home.