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Alyssa’s Alarming Arteriovenous Malformation. Please help!

Cause page created in the Health category by Dave Ledbetter for "Alyssa Ledbetter"

  • $61,072.98 donated
  • 488 generous donors

Alyssa had a major brain haemorrhage. Help Alyssa get Gamma Knife surgery to reduce the chance of permanent life long brain damage.

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When the Ledbetter family from New Zealand (NZ) made a trip to the USA they thought they were making a trip of a lifetime instead of a trip that could have severely affected their daughter’s quality of life.

Alyssa is our young, loveable and exuberant 11-year-old daughter. She has always been a healthy and active child who loves hip-hop dancing, various sports including field hockey, swimming and surf-lifesaving with her family.

On Saturday July 21st 2018 Alyssa was swimming with her cousins and brother in Lake Washington, near the city of Seattle in Washington State. Unexpectedly she hauled herself out of the water complaining of a severe headache, neck pain, blurry vision and numbness in her legs. We knew from the symptoms this was likely a spinal or head injury and attempted to assist her to the lifeguard tower. Amazingly Dr. Alisha Brown, an emergency room doctor at Harborview Medical Center, was picnicking nearby. She noticed Alyssa’s condition and generously offered her assistance. Harborview Medical Center is the primary trauma hospital for the states of Washington, Alaska, Montana and Idaho.

Once inside the lifeguard station and on a stretcher Alyssa’s condition deteriorated abruptly and seriously. She lost control of her bodily functions and began to seizure uncontrollably. Her blurred vision worsened, she couldn’t recognise the people in the room and called out for her parents. Next, she began to fall in and out of consciousness. We called 911. We knew it was bad but Dr. Alisha Brown knew if Alyssa did not get to Harborview Medical Center ASAP Alyssa could end up with permanent and irreversible brain damage.

As the medics took Alyssa to the Harborview Medical Center’s emergency room Dr. Brown called ahead and to our surprise when we arrived the doctors were outside awaiting us! Neurological surgery immediately followed--they drilled through her skull to relieve the pressure and drain the fluids. The quick responses by all involved proved crucial.

The neurological doctors at Harborview Medical Center determined Alyssa has two Arteriovenous Malformations (AVM) in the frontal cortex of her brain. Alyssa had suffered a subarachnoid haemorrhage when the “weakened” blood vessels in her brain ruptured and burst from the high pressure of blood flow from the arteries, causing bleeding into the brain. The neurological doctors have determined that open brain surgery is not an option as the AVM is too deep inside her brain and the risk of permanent damage is too great. The only other realistic option is Gamma Knife Radiosurgery; this is why this GIVEALITTLE page has been created.

Alyssa remained in the Intensive Care Unit (ICU) and pediatrics ward as her brain continued to slowly heal. Dr. Alisha Brown visited Alyssa nearly daily and has grown very close to the Ledbetters. Dr. Brown has since revealed to us that she imagined that Alyssa was her own daughter and instantly formed a connection with Alyssa. We believe Dr. Alisha Brown is Alyssa’s guardian angel.

Alyssa was released from Harborview Medical Center on 7th August but was readmitted to ICU the very next day as a precaution because her AVM symptoms flared up again. Doctors have said her recovery will continue to be a long slow process with many of the symptoms expected to re-emerge but hopefully to a lesser degree. On 11th August she was released from Harborview Medical Center for the second time to complete her outpatient treatment before the doctors clear her to safely fly back to New Zealand. Once in NZ Alyssa will have to wait at least three to six more months for her brain to heal sufficiently before she can undergo Gamma Knife surgery. Unfortunately there is no Gamma Knife in New Zealand. The closest is in Sydney, Australia.

Thankfully, our travel insurance has been absolutely amazing and very supportive of us thus far in the USA! New Zealand has a fantastic public health care system, however, as mentioned previously, Gamma Knife is not available in New Zealand. Our understanding is that once back in NZ, with the help of neurological doctors and specialists we will have the opportunity to apply to the Ministry of Health to have “high cost treatment” funded for Gamma Knife. If the application is unsuccessful, we anticipate potential costs to include:

One or more trips to Sydney may be necessary. Numerous medical expenses including the Gamma Knife, ongoing CT and MRI scans, medications and various travel and accommodation expenses will be necessary. Possible other expenses may include ongoing speech and language or physical therapy. These expenses could mount quickly but the finer specifics remain unknown, so far. Funds are needed immediately and urgently.

The Ledbetters would like to give special thanks to Dr. Alisha Brown, Harborview Medical Center and their amazingly vast array of medical experts- they are the best! We are absolutely humbled by the overwhelming support everyone from NZ, USA and the rest of the world have shown in their philanthropic support to Alyssa’s cause.

Please continue to follow Alyssa's story by reading subsequent posts under the tab, “Updates."

With the most kind and humble regards,

The Ledbetters (Dave, Tarnya, Rayna and especially Alyssa!)

Use of Funds:

Numerous medical expenses including Gamma Knife, ongoing CT and MRI scans, medications and various travel expenses will be necessary. Other expenses may include educational and/or physical therapy. Funds are needed immediately and urgently.

Page created by:

Dave Ledbetter

Bay of Plenty

My Name is Dave Ledbetter. I am Alyssa's father.

All funds raised benefit:

Alyssa Ledbetter

Funds will be paid to a verified bank account of Dave Ledbetter on behalf of Alyssa Ledbetter.

“I have an 11 yr old at WIS. Best of luck”
“Wish Allysa a quick recovery, and another visit to our aerobic class!”
“Hi Alyssa, Get well soon!”
“Hi Tarnya and Dave Thinking of you at this very stressful time for all your family. Wishing you a safe journey home to NZ with Alyssa. Love Dorothy”
“Wishes for a full and speedy recovery.”
“We hope everything works out ok for your daughter. Sending you all lots of love and hope, from our family to yours x”
“Happy to give a little towards your cause & hoping loads of other people do too. Wishing you well with the surgery & recovery x”
“Dave, Tarnya, Rayna and Alyssa, we send you so much love from our family to yours. You are in our thoughts and prayers.”
“Kia Kaha Alyssa.”
“All the best Alyssa! we wish the very best in your recovery. See you soon back in the sunny BOP.”
  • $61,072.98 donated
  • 488 generous donors

$61,073 donated


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This cause page was created on 10 Aug 2018 and closes at 11:59 NZST (UTC +12:00) on 11 Aug 2019.

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