By LISA CAPOBIANCO
Amy Stedman of Southington has known her friend Carrie Cameron of Bristol for at least 30 years. Both attended junior high school together in Southington and Stedman said she knew that Cameron would always show her support. However, she never imagined how her long-time friend would give back to her family during one of their most difficult times.
Cameron, the owner of Taxing Matters in Plainville, set up a fundraiser to help Stedman’s son Adam who has battled Arteriovenus malformations (AVMs), which are defects in the vascular system that results in a snarled tangle of arteries and veins. Before receiving surgery this past March, Stedman said her son suffered five seizures, which left the family with thousands of dollars worth of medical bills, which their insurance company covered a portion of them.
After writing an article on Adam’s condition and leaving a jar at the reception desk, Cameron received donations from clients from Southington and other surrounding areas like Bristol and Hartford. She raised over $1500 for the Stedman family.
“It was completely unexpected,” said Stedman, adding how overwhelmed and grateful she felt for the outpour of support from her friend’s clients.
“I was amazed too,” Adam added.
“The outpouring of compassion and donations by our clients was just amazing,” said Cameron, who shares her building with Bergenty Motorworks, which also had clients who donated to the cause. “These people had never met Adam yet so many quickly put whatever they had handy in the jar and wrote out checks for up to $100.”
Taxing Matters of Plainville is an income tax preparation and bookkeeping company, which has been in business for 17 years. When Cameron found out about the medical bills that continued to flow through the Stedman family’s home, she decided to step up.
“I could tell that there was something troubling Amy more than just the worry for her son’s upcoming surgery,” said Cameron, calling the Stedmans an “amazing family.” “I just felt I needed to do something…something more than just one person could do.”
Adam was 15 years old at the time of his first seizure in April 2013. By December, Adam had a total of four seizures before he was diagnosed with AVM. The MRI showed the AVM’s location in Adam’s occipital lobe, Stedman said. Adam was referred to a surgeon who recommended a cerebral arteriogram to see the extent of the condition. The arteriogram ultimately led to Adam’s surgery this past March.
“A lot of them [AVMs] go undetected,” said Stedman, adding Adam could have had a hemorrhage or a stroke at any point in time.
Since the surgery, Adam had a seizure March 23 and another one just five days later, which left him hospitalized again. But recently, Adam has returned to Southington High School full time and has pulled through despite those setbacks. Adam will continue to have MRIs, blood work, other medical check-ups to ensure he stays on track.
During Adam’s battle, Stedman set up a GoFundMe site page to help raise money for the medical bills, and initially received $90 in donations.
With Cameron’s fundraiser, the family moved a step further into their goal.
“I can’t put in words how much it means to me—what she did for us,” Stedman said. “It was unbelievable.”