09/20/12 Many in Culver will remember Christian Snyder’s battle with cancer as a teen. Many likely are not aware, however, that the radiation treatment which saved his life then is now threatening his life. At just 13, Chris was diagnosed with an inoperable brain tumor.
“We were told to be happy for every day he was with us,” recalls mom Darlene. “Churches all over the U.S. and the Plymouth area were praying for him.”
The grim outlook took a gradual turn for the better as Chris began receiving treatments from a $1 million microtron radiation machine in Indianapolis, one of only two such machines in the country at the time, according to Darlene. The machine’s presence in Indiana had been made possible through funds contributed by the state’s Lions Clubs, including the Plymouth club, to whom the Snyder family expressed heart-felt thanks as Chris’ prognosis improved. By October of his freshman year at Plymouth High School, Chris Snyder was given a clean bill of health, to his and his family’s joy and amazement.
“He wasn’t supposed to live,” says his wife, Kris. “He was a miracle.”
Kris and Christian, high school sweethearts, dated for 10 years before their September, 1997 marriage. Until his father’s passing in 2002, Chris ran the Bargain Barn six days a week with Jay. Jay just missed the birth of Chris and Kris’ sons: Tyler (born 2003) and Trenton (2006). Darlene, meanwhile, had started a career teaching 4th grade in Plymouth’s school system. In August, 2007, Chris had an unexpected mini-stroke.
“We really didn’t have any warning signs,” says Kris. A major stroke hit the day before Thanksgiving later that same year, forcing Chris to quit working. Doctors determined the strokes occurred in the same location of Chris’ brain as the 1986 tumor. Chris’ condition was rare: radiation vacuitis, a result of the radiation given him as a teen causing the current scar tissue and blood vessel collapse in his brain.
By the seventh stroke, last December, says Kris, “We’re learning…he’s not going to really bounce back.”
Prominent symptoms today include weakness in Chris’ left side and short-term memory loss. Therapy at the Catherine Kasper Home in Donaldson is helping the 39-year-old’s strength, but progress is slow. Complicating matters were non-cancerous tumors discovered in the front portion of his brain, which had to be removed surgically in January, says Darlene.
Chris could have a major stroke, his wife explains, and pass away at any time. Three years ago, however, the family was given no hope, and yet Chris prevailed and even made it home again for a time.
Christian Snyder and his family needs the help of Marshall County residents. He has been placed in Hospice care. The LifePlex Rehabilitation Center is going to hold a bake sale on October 10th the help the family with their financial burdens and ongoing struggles. Please help to make the bake sale a huge success by donating baked goods or money. You can drop off your donation at LifePlex Rehab no later than Tuesday, October 9th.