My brother Caspar has been through many hardships in his life and a year ago was given yet another obstacle to overcome after a surgical error left him unable to move or feel anything below his right knee.
Caspar's struggles began in 1988 at the age of 4 when he was diagnosed with JCML, a rare and usually fatal form of childhood leukemia. He was given 2 months to live and needed a bone marrow transplant for a chance to survive.
One of our other brothers was found to be a match and after radiation and chemotherapy, Caspar underwent a bone marrow transplant. His recovery was long and difficult. He became a Type 1 diabetic at the same time, and he developed Graft vs. Host disease from the transplant. This meant many of his organs were damaged, including his kidneys and heart, and he has needed medication ever since. Another result of the Graft vs. Host disease was all his joints became contracted. His growth was stunted and he had to wear leg casts to try to straighten his legs as a child.
In the past decade, Caspar's disability from his childhood cancer became unbearably painful and he sought a solution to help him walk without pain. He found a surgeon who lengthened the hamstring tendons in his left leg and removed toe joints, which lessened his pain.
Unfortunately, when he had the same procedure done on the right leg a year later, the nerve block done for surgery didn't seem to wear off. An MRI revealed the unimaginable - the surgeon had cut 4 nerves instead of lengthening the tendons. Caspar lost all movement and feeling below his knee. He was heartbroken. I was in tears as he told me he how he had dreamed of running on two strong legs after the second surgery, and now this hope had been dashed.
But Caspar did not give up. After nerve repair surgery, losing a toe, and months on bedrest in a bent-leg cast, he gathered his strength and embarked on intensive inpatient and outpatient rehabilitation. He has made progress but still has many limitations and has been unable to fully return to the film work he loves. We have found a lawyer who will fight for Caspar to be compensated for the pain, suffering, and permanent damage he sustained, but he needs help to pay for the upfront costs.
Those of you who know Caspar personally, know that he is a special friend who has kept a positive outlook from the beginning, despite much adversity. He has been a strong advocate for people with disabilities and is the first to offer help to people in need.
All help for him is immensely appreciated.