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Child Life On Call: Parents of children with an illness or medical condition share their stories with a child life specialist

Sep 11, 2017

Episode 10 features an interview with Roxanne, a mom of three from San Antonio, Texas. Just after entering high school and an outstanding performance in a football game, Roxanne’s eldest child, Rueben, began having high fevers and flu-like symptoms. After about a week, his parents found him having a seizure and rushed him to the emergency room. They would soon learn that Rueben was diagnosed with viral encephalitis.

Roxanne tells the story of their stay in the Pediatric ICU, what it was like balancing being there for Rueben in the hospital while having a newborn and another child at home, and how family played a major role in getting through some of their darkest times.

Rueben’s seizures continue after he returned home from the hospital, and during his sophomore year he was diagnosed with epilepsy which led to four invasive brain surgeries. Roxanne talks about what a critical role basketball was in Rueben’s life prior to acquiring viral encephalitis and how he continues to show his determination in finding purpose while dealing with his illness.

Roxanne wants parents to know that it is ok to vent, it is ok to ask questions and know that you are not alone. Roxanne and Rueben are advocates and aim to bring awareness to the rare disease that is encephalitis. Roxanne is currently in the works to bring an encephalitis walk to raise awareness in San Antonio.

Roxanne says that Chris Maxwell has been instrumental in helping Rueben cope with his illness. She also suggests that families visit

If you would like to connect to Roxanne and follow along with Rueben’s Journey, you can do so here on Facebook or Instagram. If you’d like more information or to share your own story, please email