Cassius Gray Fundraiser
Cassius was diagnosed with Moyamoya disease which is a rare progressive blood vessel disorder affecting the brain. He underwent brain surgery on the right side of the brain to create a bypass. He will need another surgery done on the left side for another bypass once the right side has had further time to heal. Whitney, Cas’s mom, has had to step away from work to stay home and care for Cas, and bring him to all his doctor visits and therapy sessions to help him become strong enough for another surgery. Please join us in raising help and hope for Cassius! Cash/checks made payable to “Cassius Gray Benefit Fund” may be sent to Town & Country Credit Union, 1501 32nd Ave S, Fargo, ND 58103.
A Little More Info
Recently Whitney Gray’s son Cas was diagnosed with Moyamoya disease. Moyamoya is a rare condition where the blood vessels that supply blood to the brain get narrowed. He underwent brain surgery on the right side of the brain to create a bypass. He will need another surgery done on the left side for another bypass once the right side has had further time to heal.
The doctors originally thought that the second surgery could wait 1 to 2 years but with a recent ER trip and new scans surgery needs to be done as soon as possible. To be able to do the next surgery though the right side of the brain needs more time to heal. The doctors are taking things day by day as the left side deteriorates faster than expected yet the right side continues to heal to decide when the optimal time for surgery will be. Whitney has needed to step away from work to stay at home to care for Cas and bring him to all his doctor visits/therapy sessions to help him become strong enough for another surgery.
Throughout all this Lend-A-Hand-Up for Kids has partnered with her to help raise funds to cover the medical costs and living expenses for Cas and to help cover other expenses as well. There has been a benefit for Cas setup where funds will go directly to Whitney, primary parent responsible for all the medical costs of Cas.
Lend-A-Hand-Up is further helping Whitney by boosting all donations by 20%! What this means is every donation is matched by 20% up to a total of $5,000. All donations, words of encouragement, and shares are greatly appreciated!! Mark your calendars for July 18th as we’ll be hosting a fundraiser event for Cas – stay tuned for more details!
Recently on 6-12-2021 Cas went into the ER due to having a high fever. The doctors were worried about infection from the first surgery so they drew blood and had an MRA done. Nothing serious was found and Cas was released that night.
Currently, Cas is feeling better and full of energy! Whitney is staying home with Cas and filling the days with activities. Right now a couple of Cas’s favorite activities are skipping, playing with water balloons, and learning Spanish! They’re staying active to help Cas regain strength from the first surgery and get prepared for the second.
At the end of the week Cas has another appointment and hopefully will learn more on the timeline for his next surgery. Going forward we will be updating the site weekly on how Cassius is doing.
Cassius had a recent doctor visit with his neurologist on Thursday, June 24th, 2021. At this visit things went better than expected. From Cassius’ last ER visit, his neurologist had taken the time to review his most recent MRA images and determined that they would be able to wait a few months to see how his brain vessels have progressed before having to get surgery on the left side of his brain. He had also told Whitney that Cas is now able to swim in pools and that it is safe to travel! Everything is healing on the right side of his brain as expected. In a few months time they will be finding out more about Cassius’ brain and how it and his blood vessels have been developing. Since the appointment Whitney has been taking Cassius swimming and exploring! He is loving the great outdoors and “swimming like a fish”. We will keep updating with new information about Cassius in days to come!
Today at Cassius’ neurologist appointment mostly everything went okay… Cassius and Whitney talked to the neurologist about the medications that he has been on and will continue as well as future appointments that will need to be made. While the neurologist listened to his heart he noticed a heart murmur. Since Cassius has had an EEG in the past prior to his first surgery they did not notice any abnormalities but at this visit they did. He said the heart murmur could be random and not worrisome and that it could just go away over time but since he did notice the murmur the neurologist wants another EEG performed to determine any other abnormalities, if any and if there are any causes for concern.
He would like this completed before Cassius’ next surgery. Cassius will continue to have OT/PT/ST appointments as well as other follow ups. It is still not determined yet as to when his second surgery will be. Unfortunately today Cassius has also developed a terrible cough, sneeze and runny nose. Whitney will be bringing him in to verify that his cold is nothing more concerning than just a common cold.
Last night Cassius took a turn for the worse. Whitney rushed Cas to the ER when she noticed him experiencing signs of a stroke. At the hospital it was confirmed. He received an EKG where they noticed he still has a heart murmur but they’re still not sure what’s causing that. Cassius also received and MRI and an MRA where they realized that the blood vessels on the right side of the brain were deteriorating and almost non-existent. This is the same side that had the bypass put in a couple months ago. He then went down for an angiogram this morning in preparation for a possible surgery. After the angiogram results came back the doctors decided to wait until Monday to run more tests and possibly do the surgery then. This surgery is very risky and there’s still lots of questions. Updates will be posted as more information is available.
Cassius is doing good right now. Yesterday Cas had his ups and downs throughout the day. He had a seizure and they needed to give him triple the keppra (seizure medication) on top of another seizure medicine to help stop it from progressing.
Cassius still has slurred speech and facial drooping on the left side of his face. It is causing him to drool quite a bit. He feels so embarrassed by this but they can only help by showing him that it is okay.
Cassius said he feels gross as he was falling asleep tonight. He’s a very cleanly person and loves taking baths and loves always being in fresh clothes. But the hospital stays this makes it difficult to compensate. Whitney has been giving him “bed baths” with a washcloth and changing his bottoms daily but not much else can be done. Thankfully he really likes the animals on his gown.
Because of the seizure like symptoms Cassius was showing doctors had an EEG done. He sat on Whitney’s lap while they performed it. Unfortunately the glue that they use to put the cords onto his head smells awful but Cas did not seem to mind. Cuddling with his mom helped calm him throughout the difficult time especially since he’s been hooked up to several cords making it hard to do to much. The EEG came back okay. But it was determined that he had a seizure. They have been monitoring him closely every hour they are coming in since he’s gone to sleep.
Last night Cassius was excited to have a sleepover party as his grandma stayed over with him and Whitney! It’s been difficult as only 2 people are allowed to be in the room with Cas at a time. Whitney’s been there constantly and others have taken turns switching out.
Whitney’s found the best time to send updates is when Cas is sleeping so as able we’ll be posting to the Lend-A-Hand-Up site.
Cassius had another MRI today and the results showed that he had another stroke. The doctor said that this stroke was likely caused by the angiogram. He said that usually there’s a 10-15% every time that they do an angiogram they run a risk of causing a small blood clot since they’re irritating it. So on the left side of Cassius brain it was a very small stroke but still some cause for concern. They cannot guarantee that the stroke that occurred on the left side of the brain was caused by the angiogram but it’s just a possibility.
Thankfully the right side of the brain seems to be doing okay right now. We have had physical therapy and occupational therapy in, Cassius seems to be doing well. But his walking still seems a little off.
They said now, if for some reason things get worse or another stroke happens there’s a couple last resort surgeries that we can try to help Cassius live a full life.
We moved out of the PICU today and to a different room. Whitney is spending the night with Cas again and they are hopeful to be going home tomorrow if there’s no changes!
Cassius was brought into the ER this afternoon when Whitney noticed some stroke like symptoms. Once they arrived Cas had an MRI where they found out it was likely a seizure. They increased his anti-seizure medication as a precautionary measure. Cassius also had an EEG which has good results so far.
Thankfully Cas is doing good right now but him and Whitney will be staying the night in the hospital. It’s definitely a stressful and emotional time but they’re thankful for the wonderful team at Sanford that has been caring for Cassius.
Hopefully Cassius will be discharged tomorrow and we will post an update when more information is available.