The BYU Football has done it again. However, this week's Thursday's Hero has a much broader affect. Usually on Thursday's the football team welcomes in a family who has a member who is afflicted with some sort of illness, trial or disease. This week however the BYU Cougars welcomed in the Wimmer family. ALL of whom are afflicted with a genetic disorder called Neurofibromatosis type I (NF-1).
To try and write an article about this family would not do any justice. So I have included in here the letter Coach Mendenhall received from Mrs. Wimmer before coming to campus yesterday.
My husband, Nathan, and three of our four children have a neurological disease known as NF1. NF is a lifelong disorder that causes tumors to grow along nerves and can affect the development of bones and skin. NF is usually diagnosed in childhood and has a variety of potential complications and degrees of severity. Nathan has been lucky in that he has "only" had sciliosis which was repaired with back surgery at age 12, many "bumps" on his skin and some learning disabilities. Our first daughter Maia is 12 and has shown no signs of NF. Colton is our 8 year old. He was born with a diaphramatic hernia which required surgery at 5 days old. He spent his first six weeks at Primary Children's and came home on a breathing and feeding tube. It was while at PCMC that he was diagnosed with NF. Colton is relatively healthy today except for some learning disabilities, slow growth and ADHD. Brock, our 6 year old was also diagnosed with NF at a rather young age. He shows very few symptoms of NF...so we are keeping our fingers crossed.Our youngest child, Kaisa, is two years old. We thought we were lucky and that only the boys would be affected by NF. Well, when Kaisa was a year old she stopped growing and started sliding backwards. After a MRI showed that she had a brain tumor (fairly common for NF children) and then a later MRI showed that the tumor was being aggressive (it had tripled in size in two months) she began a year long course of chemotherapy. She is 5 months into her treatment. So far the tumor has stopped growing but we have yet to see it shrink. She has started gaining weight and to look at her you would never know she has a brain tumor.Everyday is a wait and see with NF. We hope that the worse of what they may have it over, but until they are adults we will not know how NF will affect them. We see an opthamologist every year, they see a genetisist every year and we work making sure they are educationally taken care of. One of the new "issues" we have found is a visual problem that affects learning so we are working with Colton and Brocks teachers to make sure they get the help they need.That is probably much more infomation that you really needed and you are welcome to cut and paste as you need. If you need anymore information, please do not hesitate to contact me. Our family is very excited for this opportunity. I myself am a BYU grad (class of 95). My boys (especially Brock) are huge sports fans (mostly due to dads love of all things sports) so we are looking forward to coming down.