Local teen battling extraordinarily rare disease optimistic about running track again

Demetri Brandon, 18 (Credit: Family)

An 18-year-old track athlete at Hazelwood East High School has been sitting on the sidelines for months.

Demetri Brandon is used to running and jumping hurdles, but his family it is taking a while to overcome one hurdle – arteriovenous malformations (AVM).

“To have one is rare, to have two is extraordinarily rare,” said Demetri’s doctor, David Limbrick. “There’s something just special with Demetri. It’s something you can see. Even at his sickest, even when he had his breathing tube in and couldn’t speak you could see his optimism and energy.”

Demetri’s mom, Neltha Brandon says faith and prayer is pulling her family through.

“I can tell you this, it’s been life-changing,” said Brandon. “I don’t believe we would’ve gotten this far without the love of them and the love of God on their side. Because, as we pray for Demetri we pray for them also because we know it takes the hand of God to guide them.”

Doctors detected Demetri’s first AVM in his spinal cord last year after his mom says he would lose his balance while simply walking. The other was discovered later in his brain, where he’s bleeding in a critically important area that controls his facial movements, swallowing and much more.

Demetri has to wear goggles on his eyes to keep them from drying out. One day he hopes to run track again.

“We don’t know how fast he’s going to recover, but I can tell you he’s surprised us so far,” said Dr. Limbrick.

Limbrick says he’s never had a patient’s family as dedicated and supportive as Demetri’s.

Demetri is supposed to graduate in May, but he’s bed-bound at St. Louis Children’s Hospital.

Medical bills are piling up for the Brandon family so they’ve set up a GoFundMe.

If you’d like to help click here.

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