Parents give back after son’s lifesaving surgery

Parents give back after son’s lifesaving surgery

Your Impact

The seizure crumpled University of San Diego student Colby Bishop, leaving him unconscious on the ground. A professor found him and called for medical help.

Doctors quickly determined that Colby had a rare arteriovenous malformation (AVM), an abnormal tangle of arteries and veins, the size of a tangerine. Because it was attached to his brain’s motor strip, removing it would be a high-risk surgery. Leaving it in place was even riskier, as a rupture could cause paralysis or death.

Due to the complexity of the surgery, Colby’s doctors knew there was only one thing to do. They recommended he see Dr. Michael Lawton at Barrow Neurological Institute, where more brain surgeries are performed compared to any other American hospital.

Dr. Lawton, among the world’s top brain surgeons, specializes in difficult AVM and aneurysm cases. He’s written groundbreaking reference books on both.

Within days, Colby was undergoing a nine-hour surgery, during which a section of the AVM ruptured and he suffered a stroke. Anywhere else, that could have been deadly. But Dr. Lawton and his team handled the rupture and removed the AVM.

Despite the complication, Colby left the hospital a few days later. After a week of neuro-rehabilitation at Barrow, he headed home to Idaho, and started classes on time that fall for his last semester of college.

“I was relieved to be able to start school and focus on my future without ever again having to worry about a ticking time bomb in my brain,” he says. “I am incredibly thankful.”

Colby feels 100 percent healed, has graduated from college and is completing an internship, with a bright future ahead.

“Barrow gave us our son Colby’s life back,” say his parents Lysi and Scott.

A gift to help others

Lysi and Scott were so grateful that they were inspired to make a donation to Barrow, in support of the Aneurysm and AVM Research Center. They want their gift to help Dr. Lawton provide the same high level of care for someone else in need and offer funding for additional research into new treatments and cures.

“It was very important to us to do what we could to support the place that saved our son,” they say. “By giving to Barrow, we hope that our gift will help provide that same care for someone else in need and offer funding for research into AVMs. For people from all over the world who are diagnosed with AVMs, having that resource in Barrow is incredible. There is no one better or more experienced in performing those surgeries than Dr. Lawton. No one else has his skill set.”

“We wanted to help others who are in those same shoes, who get the call that their loved one has an AVM and needs high risk surgery. Having someone like Dr. Lawton, with that vast experience in how to save them, truly makes all the difference in life.”