They all thought he was gone. But he was alive and trapped inside his own body for ten years.
In January 1988 Martin Pistorius, aged twelve, fell inexplicably sick. First he lost his voice and stopped eating. Then he slept constantly and shunned human contact. Doctors were mystified. Within eighteen months he was mute and wheelchair-bound. Martin’s parents were told an unknown degenerative disease left him with the mind of a baby and less than two years to live.
Martin was moved to care centers for severely disabled children. The stress and heartache shook his parents’ marriage and their family to the core. Their boy was gone. Or so they thought.
As a healthy 12-year-old South African boy, he became suddenly ill and slipped into a seemingly vegetative coma called “total locked-in syndrome”. Several years after the onset of his illness, his brain began to slowly waken and recover, but his body did not. Martin was stuck like a “ghost” for over a decade watching people interact around him without knowing he was fully aware of their activity and conversations, which sparked a very depressed period of dark thoughts and frustration. When Martin learned how to use a computer to communicate, his whole world changed and nothing could hold him back. He got a job, started a company, and even fell in love.
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