Mom Raises Awareness of Son's Rare Brain Condition - ABC FOX MONTANA NEWS, WEATHER, SPORTS - KTMF/KWYB

Mom Raises Awareness of Son's Rare Brain Condition

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MISSOULA -

A Missoula mother leads a campaign to raise awareness of her 15-year-old son's brain condition, called hydrocephalus.

Sentinel High School sophomore Taylor Lennon will have his fifth brain surgery in January.

His mom, Doree, said more research needs to be done on hydrocephalus-- a disease that affects 1 in 500 people across the U.S.

Taylor was born with hydrocephalus-- a buildup of cerebrospinal fluid inside the skull, which leads to brain swelling.

"Well, it has been quite a ride having all of it throughout the past 16 years," he said.

Hydrocephalus can cause headaches, memory and eyesight loss, and even slowed mental development and dementia.

Taylor said, "I have headaches, like all the time, like, even if it's not, ow, my head, it's still a headache, it's always there."

Taylor said it's hard to explain his condition to others, and at times-- he's forced to miss out on typical, high school activities.

"There are some sports I can't exactly play because of my head, such as football, which is one of my favorites," he explained.

Taylor's mom, Doree Taylor, said her son's first surgery-- on the day after he was born-- was to insert a plastic tube called a shunt inside his skull.

"It's traumatic to say the least, we've cried more than our share of tears," she said.

The shunt acts like a valve, regulating the amount of spinal fluid in Taylor's body, but his next three surgeries were to correct complications from the shunt.

Doree said, "It gets clogged, it malfunctions, the pressure's too high, the pressure's too low, it needs adjusting…"

The causes of hydrocephalus are still unknown, and there is currently no cure.

Doree said she wants to raise awareness of hydrocephalus, in hopes of funding national research on the condition.

"We've seen how much a person with hydrocephalus can do, and be and accomplish," she said.

Taylor added, "I feel like somehow I'll always have it, but they'll find a way to make it better for me."

Doree has set up a "Taylor Lennon Benefit Account" at Missoula Federal Credit Union, and they welcome donations from the community for expenses related to Taylor's next surgery.

The family also has donation bins at the following locations:
Missoula Public Library - 310 E. Main
On the Upside - 883 S. Higgins Ave.
Doctor PC - Suite L in Paxson Square

To learn more about hydrocephalus, and about Taylor's campaign, click here.

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