BAKERSFIELD, Calif. - A family whose lives have been impacted by valley fever continue to pray for a cure and hope for continued community awareness.
27-year-old Shane Hoover was diagnosed with the disease four years ago. Since then he's suffered from severe complications, giving him a whole new perspective on life.
"Life is good, and you don't realize how good it is, until you have to be so strong to live it," said Hoover.
Right now Hoover is disabled because of the disease, he's unable to work and takes over a dozen medications just to survive.
"For a long time I thought all these medications were going to wear me out, but I take them because I want to live," said Hoover.
Hoover's grandmother died from complications of valley fever in 2002.
Hoover's mom, Kathleen Birks is holding onto faith, but is riddled with fear because the same disease could take her son, who now has meningitis from complications of valley fever.
"You'd think when it happens to you once in a lifetime, that would be enough. The last thing in my mind was that it was going to affect one of my children too," said Kathleen Birks.
Hundreds of people are expected to turn out for the 3rd Annual Walk for Valley Fever on Saturday.
Birks believes the walk is a necessity for our community and those who are suffering from the disease.
"The more awareness that is out there, the more funding can come in to fight this. We need funding for Nikkomycin Z, which is a potential cure. This is an orphan disease and we're not find it all over the world," said Birks.
Hoover believes he contracted the disease while working in the drive-through at a fast food restaurant.
"The disease is happening right here in our own backyard. They were doing construction by Highway 65 and the dust was blowing. So you never know when you could breathe it in," said Hoover.
Because of Hoover's health, he may not make it to the walk on Saturday, but is thankful for the dozens on his team that will show up in support.
For more information about the walk you can go to http://valleyfever.com.
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