At just 14, Anthem’s Joey Hudy dazzled the US by joining President Obama in shooting a marshmallow across the State Dining Room of the White House. He’d come to present a 10-inch LED cube he’d created at the White House Science Fair, where he quickly became the poster boy for other young “makers.” The next few years allowed him to return to the White House twice and attend Maker Faires in New York, San Francisco, Paris, and Rome. Joey even became Intel’s youngest intern at 16. Through his wide range of skills and never-ending eagerness to create, Joey won the hearts of fellow techies worldwide.
Today the maker community is rallying around Joey. The now-20-year-old genius was recently diagnosed with schizophrenia while working in Hong Kong. Joey and his parents spent most of January and all of February at a treatment facility in Ohio called the Lindner Center for Hope, where his condition progressed. He’s now being treated at a long-term facility in Tennessee. The minimum stay is three months; after that, Joey’s condition will be reassessed with the possibility of outpatient care.
“This is a very long process for our family, as this is a lifelong diagnosis that will require constant care, treatment, and attention,” says Elizabeth Hudy, Joey’s sister.
A ten-day stint at the Lindner Center for Hope cost the Hudys $19,500. Joey’s current facility, Pasadena Villa, charges $25,000 per month for extensive inpatient care. Elizabeth Hudy has set up a GoFundMe page with a $50,000 goal, $46,000 of which has been collected in the past 21 days. TechAZ encourages its readers to support the family by sharing the fundraising page and donating if possible. The Hudys’ $50,000 goal is just that—a goal, not a limit.
Prior to his diagnosis, Joey studied engineering at Arizona State University. He left the program last year to work for electronics manufacturing company Seeed Studio in China. Joey’s symptoms began to disrupt his work in early January, when his family brought him back to the US.
Joey’s parents talk to him daily and visit him a few times a week. Next to caring for their son, the Hudys’ main objective is to raise awareness for mental illnesses like schizophrenia. “That’s the most important thing, beside us helping Joey,” says Julie Ann Hudy, Joey’s mother. “This could happen to anyone, no matter how bright. I want to stop the stigma.”
Approximately 1 percent of the US adult population is said to have schizophrenia, though many cases are not professionally diagnosed. About 1.5 million people will be diagnosed with schizophrenia this year around the world. This widely-misunderstood mental illness can affect anyone, regardless of sex, age, race, economic class, or level of intelligence.
“Joey is known by many as a very smart, talented, giving, and fun-loving young man,” says Elizabeth Hudy on her family’s GoFundMe page. “My family really appreciates any help you can provide—financially and through your caring thoughts.”
If you’re unable to donate, you can share the Hudys’ GoFundMe page on Facebook via this link.