March 29, 2006
Kendall Vorpahl, 8, the son of Ernie and Jessica Vorpahl of East Hampton, suffered a rare and potentially fatal disease, underwent life threatening brain surgery, and despite the odds, is on the way back to leading a productive life.
Vorpahl was like most boys, going to school, enjoying sports, and playing video games, when he began suffering seizures. They worsened and came more frequently, sometimes as many as 100 a day.
After months of agony doctors pinpointed the problem — a rare form of Encephalitis called Rasmussen's Disease. The only known solution was to remove the affected portion of his brain to keep the rest from becoming atrophied.
Kendall had the operation November 3 at the Cleveland Clinic, and is currently undergoing rehabilitation there.
"He's coming along good," his father noted. "He's lost peripheral vision on the right side, and there is some paralysis, but he's doing his rehab five days a week. The East Hampton Fire Department is holding a fundraiser for the youngster Saturday night at the firehouse. Though the event is sold out, raffle tickets are still available and can be had at the EHFD headquarters (One Cedar Street). Chris Hatch, one of the organizers, said volunteers will be on Village Main Street Saturday selling tickets.
"We have a TV, grill, bicycles, dinners to a lot of restaurants, a ton of prizes," Hatch said. Sharon Bacon also has tickets for sale at the East Hampton YMCA, he added.
Kendall will move to New Jersey to continue his rehab shortly, his dad said. The youngster has had to learn everything over from scratch, including how to walk and talk. He has already regained his winning smile.
Hatch noted that Kendall may need many years of rehabilitation, and the hospital costs are staggering. Toward that end, the Fire Department is accepting donations to establish a fund. Anyone interested in helping can call 324-6868 or mail donations to the fire department, One Cedar Street East Hampton 11937.