Augsburg student contracts rare, airborne fungus - FOX13 News, WHBQ FOX 13

Augsburg student contracts rare, airborne fungus

Posted: Updated:
ROCHESTER, Minn. (KMSP) -

Nearly five months ago, an Augsburg University student was living the life of a normal 21-year-old. Then, he got sick with a rare airborne fungus and has been hospitalized ever since.

Although Nick Sam is on the mend, doctors do not know if he'll be able to get back to the "normal" college life any time soon. In fact, Sam told Fox 9 News it could take him another year, which would mark 18 months from the day he got sick due to an fungus found in soil that is known to kill dogs and humans.

After nearly half a year of hospitalization, Sam uses his sense of humor as therapy -- but the illness that overtook him last year is no joke. It began with headaches, spinal pain and finger numbness. For months, doctors struggle to pinpoint the cause.

"Big mystery," Lori Schwegman said. "It's an elusive monster."

On Oct. 23rd, things took a serious turn.

"I got right on the edge of the bed, and that's when it happened," Sam recalled. "I collapsed right there."

According to Schwegman, Sam was very close to death -- and diagnosis didn't come until 6 weeks ago. The culprit was blastomycosis, a fungus found in soil that can attack the central nervous system. In fact, it's the same infection that claimed the life of their dog in 2012.

Schwegman said the spores that are in the ground near their riverfront home become airborne once the water recedes, but its' still impossible to tell where he picked it up.

"It's more scary than anything because it can happen anytime, anywhere to anyone," he said.

Now, Sam is a shell of his old self. The infection caused fluid to build up in his brain, and that has left him weak in his limbs -- even the trunk of his body. That means he can no longer golf, fish or play basketball -- but he's not giving up. Instead, he's improving. Just two weeks ago, he walked for first time since his hospitalization.

"I think I might be even better than I was," he said. "Sounds weird, but I will be."

Sam is also looking forward. In fact, he can't wait until the day when he will spring out of the hospital.

"I pray every night for it, but all you can do is work, work, work," he said.

Sam hopes he will be released from St. Mary's next week, and then he will probably head to a rehab facility. Anyone who would like to help the family cover the cost of his extended medical stay can do so online here.

http://www.youcaring.com/other/help-nick-defeat-blastomycosis-/148646

  • Most Popular StoriesMost Popular StoriesMore>>

  • 16-year-old paralyzed in ATV crash saved girlfriend

    16-year-old paralyzed in ATV crash saved girlfriend

    Tuesday, August 19 2014 4:13 PM EDT2014-08-19 20:13:47 GMT
    His life may never be the same, but the 16-year-old running back from Hinckley High School was able to get his girlfriend to safety when the unthinkable happened while the two were riding his four-wheeler.
    His life may never be the same, but the 16-year-old running back from Hinckley High School was able to get his girlfriend to safety when the unthinkable happened while the two were riding his four-wheeler.
  • 28 new foods at Minnesota State Fair in 2014

    28 new foods at Minnesota State Fair in 2014

    Wednesday, June 25 2014 2:57 PM EDT2014-06-25 18:57:53 GMT
    The Minnesota State Fair is adding 28 new foods to the already massive, artery-clogging list of 500 foods from 300 different vendors. New food include everything from a bacon-wrapped turkey leg and beer gelato to a shrimp dog and chocolate salami.
    The Minnesota State Fair is adding 28 new foods to the already massive, artery-clogging list of 500 foods from 300 different vendors. New food include everything from a bacon-wrapped turkey leg and beer gelato to a shrimp dog and chocolate salami.
  • SWAT surrounding Albertville home unable to stop suicide

    SWAT surrounding Albertville home unable to stop suicide

    Sunday, August 17 2014 7:13 PM EDT2014-08-17 23:13:45 GMT
    A SWAT team is currently surrounding a home in Albertville, Minn., and neighbors apparently must get clearance from Wright County deputies if they wish to leave the area.
    A SWAT team is currently surrounding a home in Albertville, Minn., and neighbors apparently must get clearance from Wright County deputies if they wish to leave the area.
Powered by WorldNow

WHBQ-TV | Fox 13
485 S. Highland St.
Memphis, TN 38111

Main Station: (901) 320-1313
Newsroom: (901) 320-1340

Didn't find what you were looking for?
All content © Copyright 2000 - 2014 Fox Television Stations, Inc. and Worldnow. All Rights Reserved.
Privacy Policy | New Terms of Service What's new | Ad Choices