A special bond was formed between two young women who recognize how life can change in an instant.
After one of them shared the story of her health scare on Channel 3 a few months ago, the other wound-up having a lifesaving surgery.
Last September, Channel 3 introduced viewers to Skylar Vumback who was recovering from an arteriovenous malformation, or an AVM.
It's a condition when blood vessels get tangled in the brain, and in Vumback’s case, there was a brain burst that left her in a coma for nine days.
While thankfully she survived, she had speech and memory issues and was left temporarily paralyzed on one side of her body.
"It was really hard for me, I cried like every day and it was hard, it was really hard, but I’m a lot better now,” Vumback said.
Vumback has undergone intense therapy and treatment at Gaylord Specialty Healthcare in Wallingford.
Her symptoms before the burst included headaches, migraines and ultimately a seizure, and when she first shared her story, 18-year-old Erika Van Buren's mom was watching.
"I was diagnosed in the late summer of 2016, so fairly recently and I honestly had no idea what an AVM was,” Erika Van Buren said.
She learned all about it, and was ultimately diagnosed with AVM, expect her problem was detected before it ruptured.
After her mom saw Vumback on Channel 3, she knew Erika had to get to Gaylord.
“Surgery was pretty scary but at the same time, I’m glad that I went in knowing that it would be removed before anything could happen,” Erika Van Buren said.
"The AVM is so rare and so, I don't know, it's a bond - she told me it's our bond,” Vumback said.
A bond, a special friendship, a support system, on the road to recovery together.
"I want people to know if you have headaches or migraines, go and check an MRI because what if you have an AVM and you don't even know,” Vumback said.
They'll both continue their rehab at Gaylord and keep working to educate others about the symptoms of an AVM.
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