Local Child Raising Money for Hydrocephalus Treatment Through Golf

June 15, 2016 06:05 AM

More than a million people in the U.S. are living with an incurable condition that affects their brain. It's called Hydrocephalus or "water on the brain".    

Eight-year-old Pete Bigalk and his twin sister were born prematurely at 30 weeks and spent eight weeks in the ICU for various complications including a brain bleed. After a series of surgeries Dr. Haines, a University of Minnesota neurosurgeon determined Pete had Hydrocephalus.

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"If for some reason you make more spinal fluid than you absorb back into your blood stream, the fluid will build up and cause increased pressure in the head," Dr. Haines said.

If it's ignored it can actually become life threatening. But if identified and treated early like Pete's was it can be controlled but is in no way curable. There are two ways to treat the condition. Haines can either pop a membrane holding the fluid or by installing a shunt. Pete had to have two shunts put in.

"And they both connect together and drain to the belly," Dr. Haines said.

To help others, Pete and his family started a foundation called For the Love of Pete in the hopes of raising awareness and money for Hydrocephalus research.

"I don't play in the tournament. Because I have to do the putting challenge," Pete said.

Pete won the challenge last year. The first Putt with Pete Golf Tournament raised $15,000 for Hydrocephalus Research.

There are a variety of causes of Hydrocephalus at any age including head injuries, strokes, infections and tumors. Symptoms vary widely depending on the severity of the condition and age but can include headaches, nausea, blurred vision or poor balance.

You can find out more about the For the Love of Pete organization and the Putt with Pete Golf Tournament here.


Todd Wilson

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