GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. (WOOD) — A spring break trip took a sudden turn for the worse when doctors detected a rare brain disorder in a 10-year-old Rockford boy — a disorder his family says initially had him fighting for his life.
Chandyn Thompson is at Tampa General Hospital in Tampa, Florida after lengthy surgeries to drain areas in his brain to control pressure. Doctors say Chandyn the problems were caused by a condition that may have gone undetected since birth. He needs around-the-clock medical care and it will cost a fortune to get him home.
His parents describe him as a vibrant and active 10-year-old.
“An adventure boy. Outdoor kid. Love of everything,” Randi Thompson, Chandyn’s mother, said.
Chandyn was out on another adventure on the beach in Florida on April 7, getting ready to fish with his dad, when he started to feel unwell.
“He had a bucket of water, he was looking in the water and started complaining of being dizzy and having a little bit of a headache. So I sat him up on the chair in the beach and I said, ‘Just sit there for a sec and see if it gets better,'” Jeff Thompson, Chandyn’s father, explained.
But his condition got progressively worse.
“After a few minutes, he started saying, ‘It hurts in the back of my head, Daddy.’ … That’s unusual for him,” Jeff Thompson said.
Back at their hotel room, Chandyn threw up. That’s when his parents knew something was seriously wrong. By the time they got to an urgent care facility, Chandyn was unresponsive. He was rushed by ambulance to the emergency room.
Doctors told his parents the news: Chandyn had an arteriovenous malformation, an abnormal connection between arteries in his brain.
“His main surgery was an all-day affair where the doctor came out at the end and looked like he’d been through the war. He was pretty spent,” Jeff Thompson said.
His parents say Chandyn is responding to commands and giving a thumbs up.
The Thompson family was originally scheduled to return home from their vacation on Wednesday. That didn’t happen because of Chandyn’s condition.
Now, there’s an effort to help pay to bring Chandyn home — it’s expected to cost between $20,000 and $30,000 to fly him back to West Michigan in an air ambulance.
“One of our family members is hurting and so we want to help him, help the family,” Valley View Elementary School Principal Bob Siegel said.
He is spearheading the fundraising effort to bring Chandyn, a fourth-grader at his school, home. In two days, a GoFundMe account for the cause had raised more than $46,000 — $2,000 more than its goal.
Family members say they are grateful for any help.
“There’s a reason he’s with us and we just want that chance for him,” Randi Thompson said. “We know he’s loved and we appreciate everything that people are doing to reach out to us.”—–Online: GoFundMe account for Chandyn’s medical expenses