BY CHUCK VANDENBERG
FORT MADISON – A day at the gym turned tragic for a former Fort Madison couple earlier this month.
Cameron Hernandez, 31 of Burlington was working out the Burlington YMCA when he experienced a sharp headache. He stopped his workout and went home. When the headache hadn’t subsided his family urged him to go to the ER and a short time later he was airlifted to Iowa with a brain bleed from a weakened artery in his head.
During an angiogram to repair the artery, Hernandez suffered a stroke, leaving his right side limp and compromised.
Hernandez is employed with Winegard Company in Burlington and has insurance so the family is focusing on getting him better, but Vel’s Amigos restaurant will be holding a benefit for the Hernandez family all day on Friday.
Amigos will be donating 10% of all sales on Friday to the family, as well as having people on site selling ‘HernandezStrong” wristbands and car and window decals.
Hernandez and his wife Ashley (Orlandini) Hernandez have two boys, Kellan, 6, and Jax, 2. He was kept in Iowa City ICU for three weeks before being sent to Madonna Rehabilitation Center in Omaha.
“He’ll do the rest of his rehab there and then hopefully they’ll send him home,” said Cameron’s mother, Lori.
“He’s doing well now but he has a long way to go. He’s walking with some assistance and his mind is all there so he’s really doing remarkable.”
Lori said she didn’t even know about the donations until she saw the event on Facebook and then was moved to tears.
“They have just decided out of the goodness of their heart to do this for us. My mother, who has passed now, was good friends of the owners and so was my husband’s dad. We also have a GoFundMe page to help raise money, but this is just their way of helping.”
The site is located at https://www.gofundme.com/CameronHernandez.
According to the site, “Cameron had suffered a massive brain bleed. It has been determined that he has an Arteriovenous Malformation (AVM), which had ruptured and bled into his thalamus area of the brain. What this means is that his brain was under a great deal of pressure to accommodate his bleeding, causing significant damage. An MRI has determined that his brain stem is unharmed, but that there is an area of significant permanent damage in his brain. It remains undetermined what level of function will return.”
The site has set a goal of $25K and as of Aug. 29 was at just under $15,000.
Ashley had an in-home day care business that she’s since had to close down in order to care for the family. Lori said that Cameron will likely be moved to some sort of disability depending on how his body rehabilitates.
She said it’s breathtaking how a community can come together to help one of their own.
“The outpouring from the community has been so overwhelming I almost can’t breathe sometimes,” Lori said.
Another benefit is being planned for Nov. 5 in Burlington but the details on that event aren’t available yet.