Valley man who dazzled President Obama now battling mental illness
PHOENIX (KSAZ) - A Valley man who, as a teenager, dazzled President Barack Obama at the White House in 2012 is now battling a medical diagnosis that seemingly came out of nowhere.
The viral images of Joe Hudy, who wowed President Obama at the White House Science Fair when he was an eight grader with a Marshmellow Cannon, gave Hudy some celebrity status. In the years since, Hudy reportedly became a STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics) advocate, and a recent diagnosis of Schizophrenia has turned his life upside down.
"He started taking about the Chinese Government following him," said Victor Hudy, Joe's father. "He started getting a lot of paranoia and psychosis."
In January, Joe, while working in the former British colony of Hong Kong, suffered a mental episode, and wound up in a psychiatric hospital.
"He kept on saying his apartment was bugged," said Julie Hudy, Joe's mother. "It was something I never dreamed of hearing."
Joe's parents managed to get him back to the U.S., and checked him into a treatment center in Cincinnati, Ohio, where he was diagnosed.
It was not easy for Joe's parents to talk about his son's predicament. At one point, Victor was seen crying. Right now, Joe is in Tennessee for more treatment, and has bills that insurance will not cover. The treatments costs about $25,000 a month, which is cheaper than the center in Ohio.
There is a GoFundMe campaign going on right now to raise money, which has raised about $15,000 thus far. Joe is expected to be in the facility for at least three months. To learn more about the GoFundMe campaign, click here.