Mike and Jeanette Lewis enjoy making a difference.
When they found out about fundraisers for Dylan VanDriel , they combined fun and fundraising in their 5th Annual Pelham Family Run/Walk on Saturday.
The VanDriel’s, who live on Chantler Road in Pelham, are raising money for a wheelchair-ready van to transport their son Dylan and improvements to their home so he can move around it.
Dylan was diagnosed at three months of age with a rare and life-threatening disease called Vein of Galen malformation (VOGM). It damaged his brain and limits his quality of life.
VOGM , type of arteriovenous fistula, is a rare blood vessel abnormality in which arteries connect directly with veins, bypassing the capillaries.
Symptoms include heart failure, persistent headaches and the risk of death.
VanDriel’s Arteriovenous Malformation (AVM) is treated by embolization. In the process, a very fine catheter was inserted into an artery in the groin. It then was guided up, through the arteries, past the heart and on to the AVM in the brain. Glue is injected into the AVM, where it hardens rapidly.
After an unusual seven embolizations, VanDriel’s AVM had 90 per cent blood flow blocked off causing severe brain damage.
Despite the damage, he continues to improve each day with a smile and giggle, says his family.
With each improvement comes the financial aspect of caring for someone who cannot walk or get around.
“They need the money to get a van that is wheelchair ready and also upgrades to their home so it’s easier for Dylan to get around,” Mike said.
“So each donation today is special as it’s going to someone in our community in need.”
The VanDriel family hopes to raise $100,000. It has surpassed the halfway mark thanks to community bake sales, concerts and the event hosted by the Lewis family.
“We’re glad to help out with someone in our community,” Jeanette said.
“ We’ve been doing these types of fundraisers for a number of years and the support of the community continues to be fantastic.”
To make a donation to the Wheels for VanDriel fundraiser or to learn more about Dylan, visit www.wheelsforvandriels.com.