The inspiration for this post is an article titled “Presence of Mind” which was written by Jenna Chandler and was published by the Orange County Register in its Wellness section. Text under the heading “Summary” was written by Chandler. I included only some of her article in this post.
Jonathan Redmond was born with a rare disorder that led to removal of half his brain. Undaunted, he’s earned a diploma and is determined to work helping others.
In the picture above, Jonathan Redman is flanked by firefighters (left to right: Jake Gilbert, Clayton Record, and Mike Curtis) in front of Engine No. 9. Redmond, in a yellow turnout coat and gym shorts he pulled on earlier using only his left hand, is visiting the Orange County Fire Authority station as he has regularly for the past five years, part of his neuropsychology therapy. Firefighting is his dream job. Just being able to step into the fire engine for rides required weeks of climbing stairs to strengthen Redmond’s legs.
When Redmond was very young, an MRI revealed the left side of his brain was bigger than the right, an unusual condition called hemimegalencephaly. The neurons in the enlarged left hemisphere had developed and organized abnormally and were misfiring, inducing epileptic fits.
“You’re talking about talking half my baby’s brain out?” Redmond’s mom. Julie, remembered thinking when UCLA specialists proposed a hemispherectomy — a rare procedure in which the side of the brain where seizures originate is cut out or disconnected [to protect the healthy side of the brain].
“We never went down the road of ‘What could have happened?” Julie said. “We just ploughed ahead.”
His limitations not withstanding, Redmond, 22, refuses to resign himself to the unexceptional life some people expected for him. Redmond is intent on working an office job for the Fire Authority.
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Thanks to Chelle for sharing the article; Jenna Chandler for writing the article; Cindy Yamanaka for taking a picture which appears in the OC Register article and in this post; Jonathan Redmond for sharing his story, the Orange County Register for publishing the story; and all the other people who, directly or indirectly, made it possible for me to include the picture or text I used in this post.