COVID Shot Upends Brothers’ Lives

A COVID-19 vaccine injury strengthened a bond between two brothers.
COVID Shot Upends Brothers’ Lives
Andre Cherry, who was severely injured after his second Moderna vaccine shot, and his brother Christian Cherry, in Washington on Nov. 7, 2023. (Jack Hsu/The Epoch Times)
Jan Jekielek
Jeff Minick
In a recent episode of “American Thought Leaders,” host Jan Jekielek is joined by brothers Andre and Christian Cherry. Since receiving his second shot of the Moderna vaccine, Andre has experienced debilitating symptoms that have severely affected his entire life. Christian is now his full-time caregiver, and both men have become advocates for the vaccine-injured.
Jan Jekielek: Andre, please tell me about yourself.
Andre Cherry: I’m 24 years old. I was a college student, a pianist, a composer, an artist, and a published writer. Almost three years ago, I took my second vaccination from Moderna against the COVID-19 virus and found my life turned upside down. Two hours after my injection, I started having tremors in my left arm where I took the shot. In the coming days, I had tremors in all my limbs and needed to use a wheelchair because it was difficult to walk.

I spent the past two years looking for care at various hospitals in my city and across the country. I’ve been to the Mayo Clinic in Jacksonville, Florida, as well as the NIH. I’ve come alongside organizations such as React19, the CanWeTalkAboutIt project, and Children’s Health Defense to spread awareness about the adverse effects with this vaccine. I was in the documentary “Anecdotals” and “The Unseen Crisis” as well. I’m doing the best I can with my now-limited capacity to bring awareness and justice to this issue.

Mr. Jekielek: What happened to you at the NIH?
Andre: A movement specialist at the hospital of the University of Pennsylvania diagnosed me with functional neurologic disorder [FND], which many vaccine-injured also experience. Neurologists can’t seem to pinpoint exactly what we have. There is no structural thing in my brain that can explain my myriad symptoms.

The NIH was doing a study on functional neurologic disorder, so we signed up to participate. They said that, in fact, I don’t have functional neurologic disorder and that I’m not eligible for their study. I underwent a neuropsychological examination about six months into my injury, and the results came back with only mild anxiety. This is after dealing with six months of Ballismus, flaccid paralysis, dystonia, tremors, vocalizations, and lethargy, life-changing debilitating symptoms that can happen at any time that pose a danger to myself and to the people who live with me.

Mr. Jekielek: Christian, please tell me about those symptoms, because not everybody is familiar with them.
Christian: Ballismus can present as a variety of explosive muscular movements. They can be disorganized or very organized. For example, his arm could randomly fly out and smack me in the face. His symptoms are affected by a variety of things: heat, cold, pressure, and repetitive movement.

I’ve been hit multiple times. He’s punched holes in walls, and that’s only Ballismus. His legs might be flaccid, but he has control over his arms. His symptom presentation affects every muscle in his body. It can affect his diaphragm, and he won’t be able to inhale. I have to manually stimulate his diaphragm so he’s then able to breathe.

Andre: By that he means hit me in my solar plexus.
Mr. Jekielek: As you’re saying some of these things, which to me are kind of shocking, you’re smiling.
Christian: We make jokes about the ridiculous things that happen, and it helps to keep things manageable. Also, laughter can be a coping mechanism for the frustration. There’s a lot of mixed feelings, but there’s also positivity, because we’re brothers and always will be brothers.
Mr. Jekielek: Andre, this seems like the definition of family.
Andre: I have been fortunate to be blessed with a brother like the one sitting next to me and my family. They’ve all been supportive of me, always ready to do the things I can’t do anymore, even if that means having to spoon-feed me or bathe me. Our love for God and for each other has made us close and strong.
Christian: Admittedly, I’m making a decision to help, but in my view it would be dishonorable not to. But that creates a situation where I can’t make much of an income, and it places the financial stress on our single mom. Not only are you dealing with a health crisis, it’s also a family crisis where everyone’s displaced and chronically stressed. I don’t feel comfortable leaving the house.
Mr. Jekielek: Andre and Christian, what would it mean to you to have a society that accepts that COVID-19 vaccine injury is real?
Andre: I care much more for people who are suffering worse than I am than for myself, if for no other reason than I have my family and my God, and I know they watch over me. But reparation for me is only tangible through action. If people acknowledge that vaccine injuries are real, that they can devastate families and individuals, and that they can be moved to help people, I would be satisfied.
Christian: For me, acknowledging the situation is doing the work that humanity has always been doing, which is learning how to be human. Part of that is taking accountability and responsibility when you’re wrong and actually meaning it. We have to treat each other like people and not just use humanitarianism or anything else as a proxy for actual empathy and love. Either you love people, or you don’t. Either you care about them, or you don’t.
Mr. Jekielek: Andre, a final thought as we finish?
Andre: If we keep doing this work and try to honor each other as the God-made human beings that we are, then every day is a step closer to victory, and before you know it, you’re at the finish line. I’m going to keep persevering. My family is going to keep persevering. I just ask that whoever sees this would hear me, my brother, and my family, and join this fight.
This interview has been edited for clarity and brevity.
Jan Jekielek is a senior editor with The Epoch Times and host of the show "American Thought Leaders." Jekielek’s career has spanned academia, media, and international human rights work. In 2009, he joined The Epoch Times full time and has served in a variety of roles, including as website chief editor. He was an executive producer of the award-winning Holocaust documentary film "Finding Manny."
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