Community continues to rally in support of Kendall boy, 16

Chester Photography: This collage shows Payton Walters of Kendall playing hockey, one of his life’s passions since he started at age 4.

By Tom Rivers, Editor Posted 28 March 2017 at 12:57 pm

A concussion on Jan. 22 revealed a more serious health concern for Payton Walters

Provided photos: Payton Walters and Steven Balka are both junior firefighters with the Kendall Fire Department.

KENDALL – Payton Walters was knocked out on Jan. 22 during a hockey game. An opposing player checked him hard along the boards, a brutal shot to the chin.

Payton, 16, couldn’t get up off the ice without assistance. He had a seizure and was rushed to Golisano Children’s Hospital at Strong.

The concussion proved to be a blessing in disguise, Payton’s family said. Two CT scans, 2 MRI and an MRA later, doctors gave Payton and his family scary news that he had an arteriovenous malformation (AVM) in his brain. This is a leading cause of stroke in younger people.

Payton’s mother, Dawnn, describes an AVM as a tangled up network of blood vessels. The family is visiting a specialist in Boston at the Massachusetts General Hospital, looking for the best treatment.

Payton could have proton beam radiation. The family worries a craniotomy could lead to paralysis of his right leg and hand. The future is very much unknown. (More than 90 percent of patients survive with appropriate treatment.)

The Kendall community and “the hockey family” have all rallied around Payton, a junior at Kendall. There have been several fundraisers to help with medical and out-of-pocket costs.

This group of Kendall school teachers and staff played a basketball game on March 16 against a team of Holley staff. The game ended in a tie, 52-52, and proceeds going to Payton Walters and his family. Payton is in the front row. The Masonic Lodge also held a bowling tournament with proceeds going to help Payton.

The Kendall Fire Department is planning another event this Saturday, a pasta dinner and Chinese auction from 5 to 8 p.m. That benefit is at the Kendall Fire Hall, 1879 Kendall Rd. Payton is a Kendall junior firefighter with the department.

The Walters family moved to Kendall about 3 ½ years ago after living in the Flint. Mich. Area. Scott and Dawnn Walters both work in healthcare. The shrinking of the Flint community has led to many downsizings.

“The Flint economy collapsed,” Mrs. Walters said.

Her husband works in Buffalo making prosthetics and Mrs. Walters is employed in Rochester. Kendall is in between their jobs. They wanted to live in a small town with a high-quality school district. They say they found that in Kendall.

Jimmy Zs in Brockport held a fundraiser for Payton on Feb. 6 and many local hockey players were in attendance, including Payton in front row near center.

Payton has been playing hockey since he was 4, starting as a mini-mite. He joined a team in Brockport through Tri-County Youth Hockey.

He struggled with nausea for weeks after the concussion and has just now begun to feel back to normal, his mother said.

Payton’s teammates put his No. 6 on the back of their helmets after he was sidelined from hockey after a concussion on Jan. 22.

However, he can’t play contact sports, including gym. It’s been difficult to be on the sidelines, not able to play a game he loves, his mother said.

The response from the community, after Payton’s injury and diagnosis with AVM, has been deeply appreciated by the family, Mrs. Walters said.

Besides the fundraisers, many friends in the community have dropped off meals and been supportive in many ways.

“It’s been such a blessing,” she said. “The community we live in is amazing. If we lived in the city, it wouldn’t be happening. In Kendall, everybody cares about everyone.”

A GoFundMe has been set up to help the family. Click here for more information.

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