KIDS WITH COURAGE: Draven
HUTCHINSON, Minn. (KTTC) -- KTTC is honored to introduce viewers monthly to some of the youngest among us, facing the unthinkable with bravery and optimism. In our seventh “Kids With Courage” segment, Caitlin Alexander introduces us to 6-year-old Draven Levasseur.
Draven began the video chat conversation with Caitlin in quite possibly the sweetest way possible.
“I want to go bowling with you,” he exclaimed.
His mom, Bianca, explained that along with things like wrestling and Spider-Man, Draven loves bowling.
“He’s very articulate, very smart. He’s really great with all of his letters and counting and all that. He just loves everything,” Bianca said.
Draven lives with his parents in Hutchinson, Minnesota.
His medical journey began on the day he was born. He was 17 weeks premature and weighed one pound, 10 ounces.
Bianca had an extremely difficult labor, and Draven sustained brain damage.
He needed surgeries as a tiny infant for his intestines and his heart.
Then, Draven began having seizures at age 3. The seizures prompted countless ambulance rides and hospital visits.
Doctors diagnosed him with epilepsy.
But that wasn’t the diagnosis that scared Bianca the most.
Doctors at Gillette Children’s would discover another condition affecting Draven that traced back to the very beginning.
“When children do have bleeding in the brain that puts them at very high risk for having cerebral palsy,” explained pediatric neurologist Dr. Nicole Williams Doonan.
“That actually really scared me. I cried a lot,” Bianca recalled, unsure of exactly what the diagnosis would mean for her son.
Draven’s parents were grateful to have Williams Doonan to guide their family.
Williams Doonan explained to KTTC that cerebral palsy involves Draven’s muscles and motor abilities.
He spends many hours in physical, occupational and speech therapies. He’s learning to get stronger and be more independent.
“Some days he’s shakier than others, and he is pretty imbalanced. So, he does fall and get hurt quite a bit,” Bianca said.
Draven is on medications to help prevent his epileptic seizures.
He also has a wheelchair for when his muscles get too tired.
But chatting with him on a virtual call, it’s hard to imagine this kindergartener ever slowing down.
In fact, like so many other kids during the pandemic, he successfully transitioned from distance to in-person learning.
“That kid is the strongest kid I’ve ever seen,” Bianca said. “He’s stronger than me. I honestly didn’t think he would make it with all the things that were thrown at him, but this kid always comes up on top.”
Williams Doonan agrees.
“He is amazing. He deserves this honor for March because what a resilient and just lovable little boy who has endured so much and still has to work so hard and see so many doctors and therapists,” she said.
Draven was sure to demonstrate his bowling skills for KTTC before signing off the call.
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