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Tyreece Vondall

Published: Thursday, April 1, 2021
Image of Tyreece Vondall
Orginally published in the spring of 2021.

Mary Mathers used the same word repeatedly when asked recently about charitable nonprofit NDAD.

“Amazing,” the Williston mom said. “Without you guys, I don’t know if we’d have made half of the appointments.”

Since 2017, NDAD’s charitable medical travel assistance has helped Mary’s younger son Tyreece, now 14, fulfill seven scheduled medical appointments and surgeries in Minneapolis and Fargo. NDAD has helped with his lodging, too. NDAD’s help definitely eased some of her family’s financial burden, she said.

Tyreece’s first surgery actually took place in the fall of 2015. He had an asthma attack during a football practice in Williston and went to the hospital. A hospital scan revealed a colloid cyst in the third ventricle of Tyreece’s brain. But during surgery at a Fargo hospital to remove the cyst, a nicked blood vessel in his brain hemmorraged, Mary said. Tyreece ended up staying about two months in the hospital - the start of a stressful medical journey now more than five years long.

“Every time we have to have surgery, I freak out now. And we’ve gone through several,” said Mary, a kitchen manager at a Williston service station.

Subsequent surgeries have verified cyst’s repeated regrowth and attachment to a vein, Mathers said.

Tyreece now has a programmable shunt to drain away excess spinal fluid to his abdomen that could damage his brain; that needs to be checked annually, she said. His right leg and foot also are shorter than his left leg and foot, and he may need surgery to address that, she added.

Because of his new learning disability, Tyreece was held back an extra year in the fourth grade. He’s an eighth grader now but learns at roughly a sixth-grade level, Mary said, and he still deals with some short-term memory loss.

From the get-go, Mary said, NDAD client services employees have been very friendly and helpful while her family has tried to keep up with Tyreece’s surgeries, the travels and “just bills in general.” “You guys,” she added, “are amazing.”