A Born Fighter
Just days before his seventh birthday, Beckhem Gemerek developed an unbearable headache of unknown origin that led his parents, Josh and Robin, to bring him to Children’s Hospital of Richmond at VCU. During the first days of what would be a three-week hospital stay, Beckhem suffered a seizure and underwent emergency brain surgery to remove dead tissue and drain excess fluid to relieve pressure on his brain.
“On the day of the surgery, the nurses were great at taking time to explain what was happening,” Josh remembers. “It was overwhelming, but we were so impressed with the amount of care, support and attention they gave us.”
The surgery helped stabilize Beckhem’s condition, but a portion of his cerebellum, which plays a large role in motor control, had to be removed. Over the following months, Beckhem had to relearn how to walk, feed himself, and perform many other basic tasks. Even with these obstacles, he bounced back more quickly than anyone imagined.
“Beckhem is a fighter,” says Robin. “He is extremely determined and focused, which helped him get through some very hard times. This couldn’t have happened to a stronger kid.”