Gavin Nooney, AVM Survivor

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I had just finished my junior year of high school and was excited about an upcoming scuba diving trip with my family. I was serving as a counselor at a camp for special needs children and while on a giant swing with my camper, I suffered the AVM rupture. Words can’t describe the pain that I felt but my memories stop when I got to the hospital…

I was a normal kid in ROTC my junior year of high school. I was looking forward to my senior year and going to Texas A&M Galveston for Marine Biology/Science after graduation. When my rupture happened, I only have vague memories from the rupture to the time I was life flighted to Texas Children’s Hospital. My memory started coming back about a week after I was released from PICU to the rehabilitation floor at TCH. I was in intense rehabilitation and therapy most of the day which was exhausting mentally and physically. I wanted to get out of the hospital badly, but I was told I had to stay 6 months. My mom and dad told me if you want to go home, you do the best you can with the therapists and doctors. Every day was crushing mentally and physically but I knew I wanted to be home and be normal again (in my mind). I was released from the hospital 5 weeks after my rupture. The doctors said my recovery was unlike anything they had seen. I would get angry about having to do the rehabilitation, but I knew if I didn’t, I wouldn’t go home so that was all I could think about. After I went home from the hospital, I spent time resting and then had homebound school where a teacher would come to my house and bring schoolwork. I wanted to be back in high school for my senior year and I wanted to graduate. I was finally approved by the doctors at TCH to be able to go back and finish my senior year at Magnolia West. I also went back through driver’s education so I could relearn how to drive and I’m happy to say I am back on the road driving (with my parents…not alone yet). I missed my scuba diving trip in June of 2023 but in June of 2024 I am thankful that I will be able to be back underwater which is my favorite place in the world. I recently graduated from Magnolia West High School and will be attending Lonestar College for my basics. Once done with basics I will be transferring to Texas A&M Galveston where I will be pursuing a degree in Marine Science/Biology. My faith and the faith of my family, friends and all that supported me is what got me through my accident and recovery, and I am forever thankful.

After my AVM rupture, I was struggling emotionally to understand why it happened to me. I wanted to be the way I was before the rupture, and I felt alone. JNF introduced me to The Young Adult Brain Aneurysm and AVM Online Support Group for kids/adults my age that made me feel like I wasn’t alone. I made new friends in this group and feel like I am a part of something and not judged because of my disability. JNF has also continued to follow my recovery and progression since the rupture and has helped my parents by providing resources that my parents didn’t know were available.

My words of hope and advice to other survivors is to never give up no matter how much is thrown at you. Always keep fighting. It gets better, even if you think it can’t.




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