Person with ME
Casey - by Pat Fero

Age: 23

Diagnosed: 1991


Casey Ryan Fero died in his sleep in the early morning hours of July 4th, 2005. He was 23 years old. I explained his Chronic Fatigue Syndrome history to the coroner, but she said it “wouldn’t make any difference.” She collected a bag of supplements and assumed that Casey’s death was from steroid use.  Casey did not use steroids. Samples sent to a toxicology lab specializing in substance and steroid abuse, showed all negative results.

In September, a Madison forensic pathologist determined that Casey had Viral Myocarditis, that is, viral infection of the heart muscle. His heart tissue showed fibrosis indicating past infection.

I want people to know that life was good for Casey when he died.  He was proud of his recently awarded Associate degree. So typically Casey, he had no idea if he graduated, was afraid that he did not and only called the school counselor because we insisted. Yes, he graduated with one credit to spare! In addition, the last semester, he made the Dean’s list. Casey burst out of the chair and in a joy filled rant; he talked about getting his Bachelors degree and maybe even a Masters.  (He planned to major in history, his great love and sports science, a second love.) Then he said, “Let’s order Chinese,” A third love…

Casey was diagnosed with CFS at age 9 and again at age 15. It caused him to feel weak, unable to think, and exhausted. He was plagued with headaches, stomach problems, and had major sleep disorder among a list of daily symptoms.  Casey persevered and did not want people to know his condition. Early on, he knew that medical help was unavailable and furthermore, he was met with disbelief in the school and in the doctor’s office. 

Casey’s diary – mom’s journal of Casey’s day is a testament to loss of childhood. As parents, we created every opportunity we could for Casey. We loved him unconditionally and worked for years at helping him maintain self esteem though this illness. However, when a child’s basic needs are not met ,parents are powerless.    

CFS is a brutal illness for children. 

Casey was a remarkable child and a wonderful young man.