On January 22, 2017, 16-year-old Payton Walters took a bad blow from an elbow to his chin while engaging in one of his passions: playing hockey. He was knocked off his feet, struck his head against the ice, and shortly after, couldn't remember what had happened, and suffered a seizure.
Payton was rushed to Galisano Children's Hospital via ambulance, where a CT scan revealed something lurking under the surface that was even worse than the concussion he had suffered. In fact, the hockey injury may have saved Payton's life by revealing a congenital left frontal arteriovaneous malformation, or AVM, in his brain. The Mayo Clinic describes and AVM this way: "A brain arteriovenous malformation (AVM) is a tangle of abnormal blood vessels connecting arteries and veins in the brain. The arteries are responsible for taking oxygen-rich blood from the heart to the brain. Veins carry the oxygen-depleted blood back to the lungs and heart. A brain AVM disrupts this vital process."
With this condition comes the risk of stroke, brain damage, and even death. Surgery to partially fix the AVM would involve embolizing some of the veins in the tangle, but after four days in the Pediatric Intensive Care Unit, multiple MRIs, and a cerberal angiogram, the neurosurgery staff was unable to safely identify which veins to target. Blocking the wrong vessels could lead to Payton being paralyzed in his right leg and hand, and to language processing defecits.
Full of fear of what his mother Dawnn describes as a "ticking time bomb in his brain," Payton's parents had no choice but to bring him home under multiple precautions, and began looking into their options. Boston Children's Hospital has a proven tract record with AVMs, and the doctors there reviewed Payton's records, and agreed to see Payton next Wednesday, February 8, in Boston for an initial consult, and a functional MRI. He will eventually require surgical intervention, in Boston, to repair and remove the AVM and eliminate the risk of a catastrphic hemorrhagic stroke.
As you can imagine, there is a lot of cost involved in the testing and medical treatment that Payton will get, and has already received, and the added cost of travel and accomodations to and from Boston, and of his parents missing work. On top of worrying about their son's serious medical condition, and continuing to care for and reassure his two siblings, there is a financial strain.
At 16, Payton should be focusing on his love of hockey, video games, and being a Junior Firefighter in the Kendall Fire Department. Instead he is unexpectedly, and bravely facing a medical crisis. Please help, and give what you can so that this family can focus on Payton's recovery and not on bills/money. Whatever you can give would help. Any little bit makes a difference.