Stanford: Scientist Searches For Answer To His Son’s Devastating Condition

Whitnet Dafoe


By Lisa M. Kreiger in The Mercury News.


As a renowned Stanford scientist, Ron Davis has a deep appreciation for the power of modern medicine.

And yet an explanation for the disease afflicting his own beloved son eludes him.

Son Whitney, 33, suffers from such severe Chronic Fatigue Syndrome that he is bedridden, unable to eat or speak. The handsome man was once a photographer and adventurer. He traveled through the United States, studied Buddhism in India and Nepal, lived in an Ecuadorian rainforest and ran a campaign office for former president Barack Obama. Now he’s returned home to Palo Alto for 24-hour care.

So his father has set out to find the reason behind his mysterious condition — believed to affect 2 million Americans — convinced that science has an answer, and that knowledge will lead to a cure. He is also giving new hope to others.

“To have people like Dr. Davis who are studying it and looking for answers — it is huge,” said Lorene Irizary of Sonoma, sick for 22 years, a former Sonoma County official who now a patient at Stanford. She arrived in a wheelchair. “I’ve tried so hard to find answers. To be here with the researchers and the doctors and see it all together – It is really amazing.”


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