Annalisa’s Story

Annalisa, was diagnosed with anti-NMDAR Encephalitis in September of 2008, when she was 18 years old, on her first day of college.  She was comatose for about 10 weeks and minimally responsive for about four weeks.  While at New York Presbyterian Neurological Intensive Care Unit, she underwent plasmapherisis, IvIg, removal of ovarian teratomas, and chemotherapy (Rituximab).  Annalisa was transferred to National Rehabilitation Hospital in Washington, DC, where she spent three months in inpatient rehabilitation (to relearn the basic skills, walk, talk, eat, etc.) and a year of outpatient therapy (to relearn skills to reintegrate to the community).  After therapy and  Annalisa’s relentless determination and hard work, she recovered and went back to college.  She successfully graduated from Columbia University with a BA and a Masters Degree in International Affairs in 2015.