GREENVILLE — 36-year-old David Bramen of Greenville has always had issues with balance and coordination but just surmised that he had to work harder than his classmates.
Little did he know at the time he was young, he was suffering from muscle movement disorder.
Before his diagnosis, his mother, Cathy Schermerhorn, noticed her son was a little uncoordinated.
“I can honestly say I don’t think my son ever shied away from anything,” she said. “If he was going to try something, by God he was going to do it. He gave 100 percent in everything.”
This past November revealed an entirely different source of issues Bramen has coped with most of his life and also presented new and frightening symptoms.
On Nov. 9, Bramen became disoriented, felt weakness in his left side and had trouble walking.
“I was slurring my words more than usual,” Bramen said. “I was really confused.”
Bramen was going to his family physician to be checked for a blood clot in his leg when things got progressively worse. A known jokester, the physician’s assistant found it troubling when Bramen didn’t even crack a smile when he told him a joke and also noted the difficulty Bramen was having with simply speaking.
Bramen was immediately sent to Spectrum Health United Memorial Hospital in Greenville for testing and then sent home, followed with more testing at Spectrum Butterworth Campus where he was sent home again. On Thanksgiving, Bramen was admitted and diagnosed with chiari malformation, which is defined by the National Institutes of Health as structural defects in the cerebellum, the part of the brain that controls balance.
According to his doctors, Bramen has one of the worst cases and will need surgery, which, for Bramen, will be costly.
Thus, due to the expenses involved, Schermerhorn organized a fundraising benefit.
Turk Lake Bar, just north of Greenville, will be serving an all-you-can-eat pancake meal from 1 to 4 p.m. Saturday. There will be live entertainment. There is no cost to attend but donations will be accepted.
“We have a group of people who are going to work as waitresses for us and we’ll be doing raffles and a 50/50 drawing,” Schermerhorn said. “Hopefully, a lot of people will show up and contribute to the raffles because I’d really like to see this thing go well.”
Correspondent Stacie Rose is a Greenville resident.