For many Alcatraz swimmers, crossing the San Francisco Bay is an adventure of a lifetime. But for proud Dad, Chris Haslett, his Alcatraz swim may well seem a small one in a series of challenges. Chris’ 7 year old son, Lake, is living with shunted hydrocephalus, which means the Haslett family is no stranger to meeting daily challenges with courage and strength. Chris is proving his resolve yet again by traveling all the way from Grimsby, Ontario, Canada to swim with Team Hydro, to raise awareness and funds for hydrocephalus research!
The Haslett family began its journey with hydrocephalus in 2009, when, at only 7 weeks of age, Chris’ son, Lake, was diagnosed with hydrocephalus caused by an inoperable Glioma brain tumor. While the tumor was benign, it was imperative that the hydrocephalus be treated by the placement of a shunt in Lake’s brain, as the pressure from the increasing hydrocephalus was life-threatening. The brain shunt worked well for 8 months. Then the device failed, causing Lake to need more brain surgery to replace the broken shunt. This began a series of complications that are all too common for hydrocephalus patients, including a surgery which caused Lake to suffer a severe brain bleed. That complication then required additional surgeries to ensure Lake’s shunt remained working properly.
FYI–Statistics show that half of shunts fail within 2 years–the shunt is the most prone to failure medical device implanted in humans!
The above scenario would be plenty to discourage most families, but not the Hasletts. They have continued to face and meet challenges through the years, until Lake, who continues to live with both his (still benign) tumor and his shunt, is now a lively and happy 7 year old boy, who loves swimming, making music on the piano, and playing with his brother, Oak!
But first hand experience with the reality that life-threatening shunt failure can occur at any moment, and awareness of the fact that hydrocephalus has no cure, has caused Chris Haslett to realize the desperate need for hydrocephalus research to continue. He is swimming Alcatraz to help push that research forward!!
We are so proud to welcome Chris (and his family) as members of Team Hydro! We are so impressed and grateful by their willingness to come all the way from Canada to raise awareness and funds for hydrocephalus research!
We look forward to meeting Chris, his wife Helena, and sons Oak and Lake in San Francisco on June 4th!
If you would like to help Chris and his family find a cure for hydrocephalus you can donate to Team Hydro and support the cause HERE!