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Mother’s Day Tribute

ezgif 5 00fec641c384 - Mother's Day Tribute
May 12, 2019 | Mari Davis, Barbara Layt Vujaklija and Elaine Contarino-Cannella

IAES would like to wish all Mothers a very happy Mother’s Day!

You are dearly loved.  Meet three very special Moms counted among you.


My mother’s name is Grace. It fits her perfectly. Since my illness, she has been one of my biggest supporters. She is able to find the smallest kernel of progress from a story of frustration and point it out to me. She patiently listens even if I tell the same story to her more than once. She was a great mother before my illness but I have come to appreciate so much more about her since I’ve gotten autoimmune encephalitis. I have some grace in my life and it is her.

~Mari Wagner Davis


Mother’s Day from a Mother’s Perspective

My adult daughter is my full-time caregiver. When I became too sick with Autoimmune Encephalitis to take care of myself and run my household, she gave up her career and she and her husband moved in with us. At the time I was having a lot of falls and my husband, who is 8 years older than I and has COPD, was unable to pick up the slack or me. My daughter and son-in-law’s family included their single working daughter with a toddler and a high school senior, we had a big house. So, everyone moved in to take care of poor old me. We were now a family of seven under one roof.

My daughter took over running the household and all the cooking. When she discovered I was making mistakes with my medications, she took over managing that complicated task and started implementing safety measures around our home as I was a huge fall risk. She also started taking me to my doctor’s appointments as hubby was getting worse about driving in the city, and we only had half of a memory cell between us. My smart girl knew what renewals I needed for medications and what other questions we needed to ask my doctors. She kept track of changes in treatments and in general what the doctors were saying. In short, she was a life saver.

Although I live in the USA now, I was born and raised in England.  As my husband was in the US Air Force, we spent 10 years in Germany while my daughter was growing up. In Europe it is common to have multi-generational households with the young taking care of the elderly and I guess this has rubbed off on my girl. I am beginning to see this trend here in the USA within the chronically ill communities and am glad to see it. I understand not everyone can just give up their career like that, but we were able to get some money from the VA for our daughter to do housekeeping for my husband and pooled all our resources to make it work.

Knowing that my daughter has my back has given me more peace of mind than I can express. My memory and cognitive abilities are still very poor. My sense of time, lousy. My energy levels very low. And the doctors tell me that I am in remission and suffering from brain damage. Even in this stage a trip to the ER or a new doctor can be terrifying but with my daughter by my side I know I am in safe hands.

~Barbara Layt Vujaklija

Helen Contarino

September 1939-November 2017

As I knew you

A woman of great strength and inner positive peace, the warmest and kindest soul to walk through life. She loved, laughed, and danced, her touch like no other, her embrace just as memorable.  She was a champion and protector to those she loved and befriended.

She was my mother, my heart, my friend, my champion, my protector, my strength, my teacher, my everything…Mother’s Day was every day for me because I had her and she had me.

Happy Mother’s Day Momma, you are in my every thought every minute of every day.  I so miss you!

Love you,




 International Autoimmune Encephalitis Society (IAES) is a Family/Patient centered organization that assists members from getting a diagnosis through to recovery and the many challenges experienced in their journey.

Driven by the knowledge that “Education is Power”, International Autoimmune Encephalitis Society manages an educational support group for patients diagnosed with Autoimmune Encephalitis and their loved ones, empowering them to be strong self-advocates and advocates that will lead them to best outcomes and recovery. We are the premiere organization leading in these vital roles.

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