Aspiring Marine's medical condition alters his world

SAUCIER, MS (WLOX) - Logan McDonald is all smiles as he shows off his limited, yet impressive, range of motion, and shares his hobbies.

"I like to fish," said 20-year-old Logan in a barely audible murmur.

Anita Loper recalls her thoughts two years ago when she said goodbye to her grandson, Logan, as he left for boot camp.

"I expected him to come back being a very young, mature man. I never expected him to come back like this," said Loper. "In October of 2011 is when he went to boot camp. In November of 2011, they called and said that he was in a coma."

Logan had Lacrosse Encephalitis and spent the next two-and-a-half months in a coma.

"I did not think that he was going to survive," said Loper.

Doctors had little hope for Logan, but his grandmother would not give up on him.

"He means everything to me," said Loper in tears.

Soon, Logan started to show progress.

"He did wake up and they never gave us any hope that he would walk again," said Loper.

He proved them wrong, again.

Still, VA doctors gave little hope for continued improvement. The options they offered: retire, at age 19, and spend his life in a nursing home.

But Loper, a determined grandmother, went looking for a better answer and contacted Congressmen Steven Palazzo's office.

"We told them that we really needed to keep Logan in the military longer so that he would be able to qualify for his social security disability," said Loper.

With that help, Logan stayed at the VA hospital in Tampa, FL where he received the care he needed. Now, he's not only walking, he's dancing with his Grandma.

"He's still that sweet young man that we sent off to boot camp," said Loper.

Logan didn't become a Diesel Mechanic with the Marines as he dreamed, but he turned a nightmare medical crisis into a miracle of survival.

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