By: Jennifer Bechard Johnson, Education Manager
The Hydrocephalus Association is so pleased to announce the 2013-2014 Brian Christopher Newcomer Reaching for Racquets Tennis Scholarship Recipients! We would like to thank everyone who applied for a scholarship and congratulate those of you who were selected.
The Brian Christopher Newcomer Reaching for Racquets Tennis Scholarship was established in 2013 to support and encourage children with hydrocephalus to play tennis. It is intended to foster and promote confidence, friendship, comfort with social situations, and athletics.
Brian’s parents, Jack & Margarita Newcomer, his girlfriend, Jessica Janik, as well as his brother and sister, Jason and Katherine Newcomer, created this scholarship to honor his memory. The scholarship was funded through generous donations from many people who knew Brian, and his loved ones. Brian died over a year and a half ago in a car accident at the age of 27. Although he had hydrocephalus, it did not stop him from playing tennis and coaching kids as he got older.
We are so grateful to his loved ones for making this opportunity available to our children.
Congratulations 2013-2014 Tennis Scholarship Recipients!
Hunter is the oldest of three children. He is a natural comedian, sweet and loving. Hunter plays baseball, tennis, swims, and is a big fan of video games. He excels at math and enjoys drawing. Hunter’s brother, Logan, was diagnosed with hydrocephalus at the age of five. Although Hunter does not have hydrocephalus, the condition has greatly impacted his life as it does for many siblings. Hunter is proud of his little brother’s courage and braveness and has been by his side through it all. Hunter’s mother tells us, “Hunter is championing for a cure just as much as I am. “
Hunter and Logan are only 18 months apart and thanks to this wonderful scholarship they will have an opportunity to take lessons together.
Logan is a resilient six year old boy who has a spirited zest for life. Diagnosed with hydrocephalus at the age of five, his bravery to fight through the pain and surgeries inspires his family daily. Logan is limited to the sports he can play; yet, he has a passion to play everything. He, along with his brother, Hunter played tennis for the first time in the fall of 2013. They both loved the sport. Logan spends much of his time with his older brother. When it is nice outside he is interested in riding his bike, playing catch with family, visiting the beach and parks, and taking hikes. He also likes numbers, math and garbage. “Seeing the garbage truck pick up the trash is cool. Even though it’s stinky, I want to ride in the truck someday,“ shares Logan.
Jacob is a friendly, active, social four year old boy. He enjoys spending time with his family, especially his twin sister. He loves playing at the park, riding his bike and has dreams of playing any and all sports. In 2013, Jacob was diagnosed with hydrocephalus and recently his family discovered that he also has a brain tumor. Due to this, he will be receiving weekly chemotherapy treatments for the next year. Jacob’s favorite sports are swimming, running and tennis. This scholarship will give Jacob the opportunity to become involved in a great activity, meet new people, and learn something that he can continue throughout his life.
Everett is a happy, kind, hardworking boy who is social and does well in school. He participates in a Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu program three afternoons a week and is an excellent drawer. In Everett’s free time he enjoys spending time with family and friends. He also likes playing Minecraft on the computer, building things with Legos, and riding roller coasters. Everett developed hydrocephalus at the age of nine due to a tectal plate glioma (benign brain tumor). His mother states, “He has a wonderful sense of humor and is a really good sport, handling his medical situation with a positive attitude.”
Alexander is an honor roll student, Boy Scout, and treasurer of the Yearbook. He sings in the chorus, is fond of attending Sunday school and putting together plays. In his free time he plays the drums, video games, and likes to hang out with his friends. When Alexander was two years old he was diagnosed with hydrocephalus and since then he has had to endure five brain surgeries. Alexander reflects, “Hydrocephalus has impacted my life because I will never be able to play football, basketball and soccer… I cannot always do everything that my friends can do and sometimes it gets me down.”
Garvin is a fun, loving, social boy who enjoys interacting with people. He takes Tae Kwan Do classes, participates in church activities, sings in the children’s choir, and is learning to play the drums. Garvin’s favorite sports are basketball and tennis. He likes listening to music and enjoys acting, often spending time at home putting on “performances”. Born with hydrocephalus, Garvin has undergone three surgeries and struggles with math, science and language comprehension. However, he continues to remain happy and upbeat. His parents share, “He is beginning to understand that it may take him longer to achieve his goals, but with hard work, they will be achieved…. Hydrocephalus will not be allowed to limit Garvin’s life.”
Patrick is a Boy Scout, has a dog named, Penny, and a brother and sister. Patrick is currently taking Karate and computer graphics at Duquesne University, which he loves. His favorite subjects in school are reading, science, and math. Diagnosed with hydrocephalus at the age of one, Patrick has undergone some complications requiring further surgeries and he battles migraines. Patrick tells us,“I spend summers in PT working on increasing my core strength, fine motor skills..” Patrick dreams of becoming a scientist when he grows up and would like to study robotics or geology.
“I am interested in learning tennis to improve my body. I think it would be nice to learn something physical with a lot of people watching me.”
Owen is intensely curious, and loves discovering how things work. One of his favorite things to do is draw up new inventions, including a “machine to help kids feel better.” He has limitless energy and a deep joy for life and love for others. Owen was born prematurely, which caused a brain bleed and the subsequent hydrocephalus. After his shunt surgery at 3 weeks old, he has been very fortunate to not have needed any more surgeries. He takes the extra doctor visits in stride, and doesn’t let anything slow him down. Owen’s favorite subjects in school are math, science, and reading. He enjoys riding his bike, watching football, playing with his sister, and writing in his diary every night.
“Hydrocephalus has impacted my life because every once in a while I will have a terrible headache. This impacts my life because I have to go to the hospital more than other kids.”
Max is in the sixth grade and he is a straight A student. He is self-disciplined, determined and is a master when it comes to debating. Max participates in Boy Scouts, plays baseball, racket ball, and collects baseball cards. He loves animals, especially dogs, and often helps his grandmother at her doggy daycare business. His favorite place to be is anywhere next to his eight-year-old snorting pub-mixed mutt, Luna, whom he’s shared most of his life with.
Max was diagnosed with aqueductal stenosis at ten months of age and was shunted at that time. Since then, he has had two shunt revisions. He also has a history of slit like ventricle syndrome (SVS). Max’s mother says, “Having hydrocephalus I think has made Max sensitive about the challenges we all face. And as most kids with hydrocephalus living with any chronic illness, it has made him wise beyond his years.” When Max grows up he wants to become a lawyer.
“We are so appreciative of Max receiving the 2013-2014 Brian Christopher Newcomer Reaching for Racquets Tennis Scholarship. Max is very excited about the opportunity to learn to play tennis!”
“I don’t let having hydrocephalus stop me from doing activities…”
Jack is eight years old. He is homeschooled with his brothers and his favorite subject is history. Jack loves to play baseball, build puzzles, and he takes pleasure in playing outside with his friends. Jack was diagnosed with hydrocephalus when he was three months old. He had a shunt inserted shortly after, which failed when he was 7 months old. His doctors performed an Endoscopic Third Ventriculostomy (ETV) and he has not had any complications since then. When Jack grows up he wants to be a Major League Baseball (MLB) player.
“I do get nervous when I have headaches that my ETV is failing and that I will need to have surgery again.”
Ryan is ten years old. He his home schooled with his siblings and his favorite subject is history. He’s involved in Classical Conversations, which is a homeschool group that meets once a week and he has achieved memory master. Ryan loves to read and play baseball. Diagnosed with hydrocephalus at birth, Ryan’s first shunt failed within a year of placement. Following his shunt malfunction, Ryan’s doctors thought that he would be an excellent candidate for an ETV. Unfortunately, Ryan’s ETV failed one month later. Ryan’s neurosurgeon was able to perform an ETV again and he has been doing well ever since.
Evan is six years old. He is homeschooled with his older brothers, Ryan and Jack. Ryan and Jack both have hydrocephalus. Although Evan does not, he has had to overcome several obstacles in life. Born prematurely at 31 weeks, the doctors did not think Evan was going to make it. When he was born the doctors discovered that Evan was not growing and that he was born with Intrauterine Growth Restricted/Small for Gestational Age (IUGR/SGA). Evan is still small for his age. He aspires to become a Lego Designer.
Alida is an adventurous and loving child. She likes the outdoors, nature and animals. Alida enjoys being outside where she can chase dragonflies and butterflies in the yard and is learning to ride her bicycle. She loves to be silly and make up stories with her toys. On any given day she may say she is going to be a dolphin trainer, a veterinarian or something to work with animals. Alida is all about her family. She loves spending time with her grandparents, cousins, and the extended family of friends in the neighborhood.
Alida loves to read and she excels at math and science. Diagnosed with hydrocephalus at five years of age, Alida says, “Most of the time I forget I have it because I can’t see it, but when I get a headache I know it’s there…” Due to her hydrocephalus and mild DWV, Alida has challenges with handwriting activities. She is excited about going to camp this summer to meet new friends and learn a new sport.