Bryce Duke Celebrates "HOME RUN FOR LIFE" on 6/20 with the OKC Dodgers


The Oklahoma City Dodgers announce the 2015 “Home Run for Life” series Saturday, June 20 recognizing Bryce Duke, who continues to recover from a rare disease called Anti-NMDA Receptor Encephalitis.  “Home Run For Life” recognizes people in the Oklahoma City area who, with the help of their families, physicians and health care professionals, have overcome a significant medical event. Honorees are recognized during a Dodgers game and take a home run “lap” around the bases, symbolizing the end of their battle against adversity.

OKC Dodgers President/General Manager Michael Byrnes said, ” HOME RUN FOR LIFE allows us to feature  extraordinary individuals from the community who summoned a great deal of courage to get where they are today.”

In September, 2014 Duke was leading a normal life of an 11-year-old boy – playing football, video games and running around with his friends, when he began to experience unusual symptoms. His eyes would cross and his pupils would become enlarged for no apparent reason. He complained of dizziness and blurred vision, and he began staring off into space for long periods.

He was recommended to INTEGRIS pediatric neurologist Amber Stocco, M.D., and was admitted to the hospital Oct. 9 for testing. Dr. Stocco made the diagnosis that Duke had a very rare disease called Anti-NMDA Receptor Encephalitis, commonly referred to as NMDA.

NMDA is a disease that occurs when antibodies produced by the body’s own immune system attack NMDA receptors in the brain.  The disease caused swelling in Duke’s brain and as his conditioned worsened, he started experiencing terrifying hallucinations and at times was unable to recognize his parents. In addition to the neurological issues, his heart rate began to rise and he began having difficulty breathing and was placed on a ventilator.

Duke spent three weeks in the pediatric intensive care unit at INTEGRIS Baptist Medical Center. He was moved to the pediatric floor for another week before finally being released to go home. But Duke suffered a setback and returned to the hospital for an additional two weeks.  He underwent extensive treatment and aggressive therapy for his disease, and an additional diagnosis of a pulmonary embolism followed.

Due to his illness and hospital stays, Duke was unable to stay in school and began homeschooling.  He looks forward to returning to be with his classmates in the fall as he continues to work toward his recovery. Despite it all, Duke has been a trooper and realizes he is lucky to be alive. Being a typical boy, he even thinks it’s kind of cool that he has an extremely rare disease, he says it makes him feel special. INTEGRIS staff members agree he is special, but for many more reasons than his disease.

Come celebrate with Bryce Duke and see his “Home Run For Life,” following the third inning of the OKC Dodgers’ game Saturday, June 20 against the Memphis Redbirds.