A Lawrence woman is spearheading a local drive to raise funds for a Topeka boy who is suffering from a rare, life-threatening blood vessel condition in his brain.
A family friendship dating back more than 20 years prompted Loma Gregg to begin an effort in Lawrence to raise funds for 7-year-old Bucky Rookstool. He is scheduled to travel with his parents to Berkeley, Calif., next month to undergo treatment for the condition.
The youngster's ailment is called arteriovenous malformation of the vein of Galen. The condition results in an abnormal connection between the arteries and veins in the brain. The effect is much like a short circuit: blood is shunted from the arteries to the veins without supplying the brain in a normal manner. Untreated, the condition would result in brain deterioration and death.
Loma, whose daughter is a lifelong friend of Bucky's mother, Denise Rookstool, said she learned of Bucky's plight in media accounts out of Topeka. The family was having difficulty raising funds for airline tickets and lodging expenses to California.
Bucky's family has stayed in Ronald McDonald houses on previous trips to New York for treatments, but there is no Ronald McDonald house in Berkeley.
"This little boy is going through so much pain, and his family is in need of help,'' Mrs. Gregg said Friday. ``I figured the good people of Lawrence also would like to help him."
To do so, Mrs. Gregg opened a savings account with a Lawrence financial institution. Donations in the name of Bucky and Denise Rookstool can be made at any of the Columbia Savings branches in Lawrence.