William Stiles, 37, married his wife, Amber, in September 2014. By October, the couple was expecting their first child, Blake Elizabeth. The following February, William won the first court case he tried at his new law firm. Then came March.
“March came around, and I woke up in the hospital,” William says. “I remembered my wife, her name and that she was pregnant, but I didn't recognize her standing in front of me.”
MRIs revealed countless lesions on the left side of his brain. The nagging vision troubles and leg pain he’d been experiencing were symptoms of multiple sclerosis (MS). An infusion of Rituxan helped stabilize William’s condition and restore his memory. A series of appointments with Guy Buckle, M.D., director of neuroimaging research at Shepherd Center’s Andrew C. Carlos MS Institute, provided William with a plan to better manage his MS moving forward.
“I feel like I have a second shot at life, and Dr. Buckle and the staff at Shepherd Center have been essential in making that possible,” he says.
William’s new life began with a job hunt. While in the hospital, William had received a termination letter from his law firm. Thankfully, it didn’t take long for William to receive a job offer from an Atlanta-based plaintiff’s litigation firm. Today, William is an associate focusing on complex wrongful death and trucking accident cases in state and federal courts. This past year, he was sworn into the U.S. Supreme Court’s bar association, making him eligible to argue cases before the highest court in the land.
Law isn’t William’s only passion. A writer and visual artist, he has both published a book, Basketball Hero, and sold his paintings to art collectors. During his recovery last year, he had more time to indulge his creative side, even selling 15 copies of his American Presidents painting that illustrates the significance of America’s first African-American president.
“Art has always been one of my escapes,” William says. “This time, it helped me reconnect with the world.”
He’ll have more connecting to do soon. William and Amber are expecting their second child in February 2017.
By Phillip Jordan
Shepherd Center, located in Atlanta, Ga., is a private, not-for-profit hospital specializing in medical treatment, research and rehabilitation for people with spinal cord injury or brain injury. Founded in 1975, Shepherd Center is ranked by U.S. News & World Report among the top 10 rehabilitation hospitals in the nation and is a 152-bed facility. Last year Shepherd Center had 965 admissions to its inpatient programs and 571 to its day patient programs. In addition, Shepherd Center sees more than 6,600 people annually on an outpatient basis. For more information, visit Shepherd Center online at www.shepherd.org