It's a medical mystery. Why are children all around the world developing severe narcolepsy -- a rare sleeping disorder with no known cure?
It is a question that Christine and Ian pondered after their perfectly healthy daughter developed symptoms, shortly after being hospitalized with a flu like infection in 2011.
Makenna was once an alert and active young girl but now she falls asleep without warning..
Her parents took Makenna off her medication temporarily to show W5 the effects of the disorder. As they play a board game in the kitchen, her head starts to bob and then Makenna face hits the table.
Then there is a bizarre related symptom called cataplexy, which also affects her. Makenna suddenly loses muscle control and collapses when she laughs or feels strong emotions, something that happens to the eight-year-old several times a day.
When her mother hugs her, Makenna simply drops. She's awake but paralyzed. Her parents make it safe for her to have these symptoms at home, but out in the world, it's a different matter.
"We do a lot to keep her safe, but I worry about her when she is on her own," said her mother, Christine, who asked W5 not to reveal their last name or home town to preserve their privacy.
"We had to take her out of swimming, if she had an episode she would quickly drown. All of those things you do every day, walking down the stars, what if she loses her legs and just goes limp?" said her father Ian.
Makenna is now on several medications to keep her alert during the day, so she can take part in school and gymnastics. But this bright articulate girl wonders what lies ahead.
“What kind of job am I going get? And if I am going to be able to drive or not, and how will I handle a baby, if I can even have one,” said Makenna.
The report goes on to describe another child with similar symptoms, and then says Makenna was vaccinated against H1N1 during the 2009 pandemic, and more than a year later contracted a "severe flu-like infection." Four weeks later her symptoms began.
Evidently this is a worldwide problem, and one that deserves close attention. We have a bad habit of forgetting influenza cases, whether the victim survives or not.