Rolesville family wins funds to research child's disease

Posted December 1, 2010

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— The story of a Rolesville boy afflicted with a rare disease that causes temporary paralysis has helped secure hundreds of thousands of dollars to research the cause and possible cures for his condition.

Matthew Wuchich, 3, suffers from AHC, or alternating hemiplegia of childhood. The disease causes sudden bouts of paralysis that can last for minutes, hours or even days.

With only 650 known cases in the world, AHC is not a high priority for researchers.

"You just don't know where to turn," Matthew's mother, Renee Wuchich, said. "There's no medication that's effective and approved in the U.S., so just getting the medication is so difficult and then trying to figure out what his life is going to be like."

Matthew's father is president of the the Alternating Hemiplegia of Childhood Foundation and campaigned to get a Pepsi Refresh grant.

"We had gotten knocked out to third place (Tuesday) afternoon, and we did a massive campaign" to get out the vote, Matthew's father, Jeff Wuchich, said Wednesday.

On Wednesday morning, the Wuchich family got good news: Online voters placed their cause second in the competition – enough for $250,000.

Jeff Wuchich said he had "tears of joy" and was "ecstatic." 

Matthew Wuchich Contest win is just beginning for Rolesville family

"I couldn't stop laughing for about 10 minutes. I had to pinch myself to make sure it was real," he said.

He said the money will go to researchers examining the DNA of children with AHC. That research "then would lead to treatments and a cure at a much more accelerated pace," he said.

The campaign for a Pepsi Refresh grant also raised awareness about AHC and helped identify a few previously unknown cases of the disease.

Jeff Wuchich had a message for everyone who took a moment to cast a vote that might help families find some answers.

"Because of you, my son and his friends might have a shot at a normal life," he said.


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  • bjunell Dec 1, 2010

    Thanks WRAL for doing a great job of covering this local story!

  • SweetB Dec 1, 2010

    Congratulations!!! May you all find comfort in some answers relatively soon... XO

  • shopmyernc Dec 1, 2010

    I was glad to see a local family win. Unfortunately this also meant that a family close to ours ended up losing their 2nd place and the funding they had been hoping for to help their child is in a similar situation. Hope everyone reads up on Hanna's Hope ( and supports them in December. Good Luck to Matthew and his family and all children who need our help.

  • sssh.. whisper Dec 1, 2010

    I voted for him.. and was so happy to see the article! Congratulations!

  • inchworm714 Dec 1, 2010

    I voted, and passed it on for others to vote as well. Soooo happy this family won funds!

  • leannfan1 Dec 1, 2010

    I am so glad these people won! I definately voted for their cause. As a parent I can only imagine what it would be like for my child to have a disease and the doctors look at me and say "well theres nothing we can do." On top of not having any real info on it out there. Much luck to this family, I hope this grant helps to get them some answeres. They are in our prayers!

  • SaltlifeLady Dec 1, 2010

    Yay! Good news!

  • Just WhiskeyKel Dec 1, 2010

    That's GREAT!

  • fayelcox Dec 1, 2010

    I am so thankful you guys won. I did not know of any disease like this. I hope to find out more about it. I wish your family lots of rewards for doing this. I will be praying for you.

  • illegals--GO HOME Dec 1, 2010

    I am so glad to hear this. I voted online and passed the link on to many others to vote. This disease needs to have some heavy duty research!!