Molly's Kids: 2-year-old in Conover diagnosed with rare brain illness

Molly's Kids: 2-year-old in Conover diagnosed with rare brain illness

CONOVER, NC (WBTV) - Lucas Howland and his older sister Daysie. Lucas is a truck-loving, bike-riding, dirt-playing, 2-and-a-half-year-old in Conover.

"He's all boy," says his mom Hailey. "A happy soul who brings love and joy to everyone."

Lucas was recently diagnosed with Chiari Malformation. Never heard of it? Most people haven't. It's a condition where Lucas's brain tissue extends into his spinal canal. It has... been like that since he was born, but Hailey never knew until he recently started complaining about headaches.

Hailey didn't think much about a little whining over his head hurting. Lucas was between a bad ear infection and a viral infection, she assumed it was connected to one of those.

Still, about a month ago the doctor suggested an MRI.

"The results were shocking," Hailey said. "I didn't even know what they were saying. Who's ever heard of Chiari Malformation?"


Lucas is set to have surgery at Wake Forest Baptist Medical Center on July 24th. Doctors are going to remove some of his skill and his first vertebra to make room for the brain tissue causing the problem.

It's a big surgery.

Hailey doesn't know if her son's headaches will go away or if symptoms will get worse over time. There is currently no cure. Ultimately this condition can cause problems with balance, muscle weakness, dizziness, and vision problems.

"We're hoping for the best," she says. "That's all we can do. Hope for the best… wait… and share his story."

Hopefully, Hailey, your truck-loving, bike-riding, dirt-playing boy will be back to a happy-go-lucky, pain-free, headache-less toddler very soon.

Editor's note: This is about one of #MollysKids, children WBTV Anchor Molly Grantham follows closely on her Facebook page.  It was first published there – which is why it's written in a personal way.  For years Molly has followed the stories of dozens of kids with uphill medical battles. Find this story (and updates on all #MollysKids) here: