Molly’s Kids: Meet Bryson Helms. This Boy Scout lives with Chronic Pancreatitis

Molly’s Kids: Meet Bryson Helms. This Boy Scout lives with Chronic Pancreatitis
Bryson Helms (Source: Helms Family)

CHARLOTTE, N.C. (WBTV) - Catching up on so many amazing new #MollysKids stories... happy to introduce you guys to Bryson Helms, a 5th grader at Balls Creek Elementary in Newton. He lives with Chronic Pancreatitis.

Here’s what you need to know about what this does to an 11-year-old: A few years ago, Bryson was a Boy Scout, played baseball, and loved to swim. Fast forward to now and Bryson reads lots and has taken up video games because books and screens don’t wear his body down. Doctors told him he just simply can’t endure a physical lifestyle.

You hate to read that about any child who loves outdoor activity. But Bryson’s mom, Barbara, said his whole family keeps a positive attitude and tries to educate others. She said that’s why she reached out, hoping Bryson could be part of #MollysKids, and maybe through this post and your comments meet another child in our area living with the same thing.

“Chronis Pancreatitis means he continuously gets bouts of bile duct stones,” Barbara said. “He has to go into the hospital every 3-4 months and stay for 3-5 days. When he’s there, he can only have IV fluids. The stones aggravate his pancreas to a point where the damage is beyond repair.”

At first, Bryson was misdiagnosed with Acute Pancreatitis, which is when the pancreas is inflamed for a period of time then pain subsides. Chronic Pancreatitis is a step beyond that.

At the end of last month, Bryson had an intense procedure called TPIAT – Total Pancreatectomy with Islet Autotransplantation – to get rid of the pain. It’s a long name for a long procedure that removes his pancreas and repairs part of his gastrointestinal system. He went to Cincinnati Children's Hospital Medical Center to have the 16-hour surgery.

“The surgery took place on October 28th,” Barbara said “It was scary. He was so brave. They started at 7:30am and brought him out of recovery at 10:30pm. But the Cincinnati hospital is one of only three in the country to specialize in this type of procedure, so we felt comforted being there.”

Barbara said they are now learning how to administer proper doses of insulin so when he gets released, the family can treat him. They're also scheduling another surgery for Bryson to get a cyst removed and biopsied.

Bryson hasn’t eaten any food yet, except for a few bites of White Cheddar Popcorn. He’s being closely monitored and is up and moving around, slowly, with the help of a therapy dog. (Send us a picture of that, Barbara!) His recovery is on target.

Like many of our #MollysKids moms, Barbara is proud. She wanted us to know Bryson wants to be a doctor.

“When he grows up that’s what he wants,” she said. “A doctor with a specialty in what he’s going through now, focusing on kids. He’ll be great because he's living it. It’ll be personal for him.”

Kids should lead us all.

-Molly

*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 hundreds of kids with uphill medical battles. Find this story and updates on all #MollysKids here.

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