Community rallies around local teen fighting rare disease

A 17-year-old Navarre High School student was diagnosed with meningitis and encephalitis of the brain Oct. 17.

Katie Harrell has been in the hospital since then; she was first admitted to Sacred Heart Hospital and was most recently transferred to the Children’s Hospital in Miami where she remains in a medically induced coma.

According to a fundraiser page for Harrell, doctors had originally exhausted all possible treatments and medications to help the young woman. Further testing has updated the diagnosis to the rare Anti-NMDA receptor minego encephalitis and doctors started a new treatment, plasma exchange, on Nov. 2. She’s had three transfusions so far. Doctors told Harrell’s mother, Rhonda, that the teen would not leave the intensive care unit for at least 60 days.

For more information, or to donate to Harrell’s medical costs, visit

Read more in the Nov. 6 issue of the Navarre Press or subscribe online here.



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