Highland HS Senior Dustin Chapman Facing Sister’s Illness With Grace

Monterey, VA – Highland High School senior Dustin Chapman has had to grow up a little faster this year due to his sister Tracy’s illness. Tracy Chapman, the daughter of Herold and Patricia Chapman became ill early in September.

“Tracy became ill, it was September First” says Dustin. “It was the first evening of the Fair. She went home complaining of a stomach virus so we figured it was just a 24 hour bug but it obviously wasn’t.”

After weeks of being in medical care Tracy was diagnosed with a rare disease.

“Tracy has a rare form of MMDAR” he says. “It’s a form of encephalitis – it’s a rare form, but basically it is a virus that attacks your brain. It makes you have seizures, hallucinate, dazed, confused. So it is all basically a mental virus.”

Tracy is receiving medical treatment at the Kluge Children’s Rehabilitation Center in Charlottesville, VA. Dustin describes his sister’s current medical condition.

“Right now Tracy is doing very well” he says. “Her therapies are going very well. She has physical therapy, occupational therapy, and speech therapy twice a day. Each for an hour long at a time. So she has 2 sessions for each therapy. She is doing basically fine physically. She is getting up on her own, walking on her own, swimming, playing basketball.”

Tracy’s parents Harold and Patricia Chapman have been by their daughter’s side through the entire ordeal. Her medical treatments are very costly and have put a strain financially on the family. To help with the expenses, Dustin is spearheading one project to raise money for his family, a bracelet similar to the Lance Armstrong Live Strong bracelets.

“My cousin from South Carolina started these bracelets because they are kinda in style among teens and young adults” says Chapman. “So we are selling them for five dollars and four out of the five dollars goes toward my family for the medical expenses and everything. And they have LSP 4 TLC which stands for Love Support Prayers for Tracy Lynn Chapman.”

Highland Public Schools teachers and staff, the HHS senior class, and the Girl Scouts are sponsoring a free will donation dinner for the Chapman Family on Sunday, December 5th at the Highland Public Schools Cafeteria from 11 am to 2 pm. Dustin describes what the dinner menu will include.

“The menu is pork tenderloin, green beans, mashed potatoes, macaroni and cheese, homemade rolls, and dessert” he says.

There is still a need for donation of homemade cakes for the cake auction that will take place at the dinner. To donate a cake, contact Betty Rexrode at the Highland Elementary School office.

All proceeds from the dinner will directly go to the Chapman Family to help with Tracy’s medical expenses. Future fundraisers are in the planning stages for the family. Chapman says the [Highland] elementary teachers will probably do another dinner in the spring time. Dustin along with his family hopes Tracy will be home in time for Christmas.

Story By

Heather Niday

Heather is our Program Director and Traffic Manager. She started with Allegheny Mountain Radio as a volunteer deejay. She then joined the AMR staff in February of 2007. Heather grew up in the Richmond, Virginia, area and now lives in Arbovale, West Virginia with her husband Chuck. Heather is a wonderful flute player, and choir director for Arbovale UMC. You can hear Heather along with Chuck on Tuesday nights from 6 to 8pm as they host two hours of jazz on Something Different.

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