Cal Fire firefighter expected to make full recovery after brain tumor removal
HOW TO HELP
Cards of encouragement can be sent to Ryan Yokom care of Capt. Dan Collins at the Cal Fire station, 10242 Ridge Road, Nevada City, CA 95959. Donations can be made via GoFundMe.
A little over two months after suffering a hemorrhagic stroke and being rushed to the hospital, 26-year-old firefighter Ryan Yokom is looking forward to making a full recovery.
But the Penn Valley native — who just returned home a week ago — faces at least six months of rehabilitation.
“It’s been a long road,” said friend Mitra Hall, who set up a GoFundMe that has raised more than $19,000.
The medical expenses alone are going to be tough, Mitra Hall said, adding she and husband, A.J., launched the fundraiser so that Yokom could focus on his rehab.
“We don’t really know what his future is — we’re just happy he’s alive,” said A.J. Hall, Yokom’s shift partner at the Cal Fire Nevada Yuba Placer Unit station in Nevada City.
On Oct. 12, both men were about to go off shift and everything seemed fine when Yokom’s engine got one last call-out, A.J. Hall said.
“When they came back, I could tell something was wrong,” he said.
Yokom initially told his captain he started feeling “weird,” then began showing neurological signs of a stroke that eventually included slurred speech and right-side paralysis. He was taken to Sierra Nevada Memorial Hospital, where a CT scan showed a brain bleed. He was then taken to the intensive care unit at Mercy San Juan for evaluation.
When the “brain bleed” appeared to be resolving, Yokom was sent to a rehab center. But Yokom sustained three more bleeds within the month and a decision was made to conduct exploratory surgery.
“They found a growth the size of a lemon, (and) was not clear if it was cancerous,” A.J. Hall said.
The surgery went smoothly, he said, adding they were able to remove the tumor without any loss of brain matter.
“He’s doing well,” said Cal Fire Capt. Dan Collins, who has been acting as a liaison between the fire agency and Yokom’s family. “It’s been my therapy, seeing him recover.”
To contact Staff Writer Liz Kellar, email email@example.com or call 530-477-4236.
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