Hartbreak for Lamar fundraiser planned in Harrington

When Lamar Wayman rolls up to sing in Power in Praise’s children’s choir in Harrington, he brings a contagious smile and an attitude of determination.

After all, the 10-year-old Fairview Elementary School student has a lot to be happy about this year. He survived two tumors and two surgeries and is well on his way to relearning how to walk thanks to supportive family and friends.

Torticollis, or a stiffening in the neck muscles, had Lamar in physical therapy at ATI last year. Then, he started getting sick until he collapsed onto the floor one day.

“Lamar had stopped eating. He was losing weight. He would eat and then vomit it back up. His right arm lost feeling. The Wednesday that it took a turn, he fell down and I said, ‘Boy, get up.’ Because he’s a jokester. But then he started crying,” his mom Apryl Monroe-Wayman recalled.

That’s when she knew something wasn’t right.

Paramedics arrived to take him to Kent General Hospital in Dover. An MRI and a personal trip to A.I. DuPont Hospital later, Lamar discovered he would be at the children’s hospital for quite some time.

“His blood sugar had dropped to 51, which was very low,” Ms. Monroe-Wayman said. “On the MRI, they saw a mass on his spinal cord. That tumor usually wraps around a lot of children’s spinal cords, but his was a clean cut. When he was admitted, the doctor said that [low blood sugar] was one of the signs of the tumor.”

In fact, Lamar had two tumors — one on his spinal cord and another on his brain. He also had cysts in various places from his spinal cord up to his brain along the brain stem; all of which had been growing for about 18 months, his mom said.

“His personality hasn’t changed. A lot of people tell us, ‘Dude, you inspire us. We couldn’t do this,’” she said.

Lamar spent about two months at A.I. DuPont Hospital and another 10 months at the Ronald McDonald House nearby, so he could continue the hospital-based treatment from a more home-like atmosphere.

Eventually, his mom, an educational assistant at the Benedictine School in Ridgely, Maryland, had to return to work teaching children with intellectual disabilities. She traveled every day to see Lamar as he continued to progress through treatment. Her mother offered to stay with him to support the family.

“I think it helped being there from the beginning, to see him in such high spirits. He helps us. His great-grandfather, my husband, had just passed in March. Following that same year in August, Lamar got sick. I didn’t have time to grieve. I had a lot of skills in caregiving because when my husband was sick, I would do a lot of the same things. Being the caregiver and being the person that I am, it helped,” Virginia Monroe-Walker said.

She still helps as a caregiver, along with many other family members, as Lamar has since returned to school, continues physical therapy at ATI and goes back to A.I. DuPont for regular checkups.

Ms. Monroe-Walker was a former teacher herself, having spent decades in the field, 16 of those years with autistic children.

But nothing prepared the family to have a child of their own with disabilities.

“I would often say when I leave work, ‘Man, I really pray for the families that have to change their child. You’re talking about grown boys or grown girls. And then not knowing he’s going to be in a wheelchair. When it hit home, it meant all the world to me. I was more sensitive to it already, but now…,” Ms. Monroe-Wayman said of her son. “He can advocate for himself. He may not be able to do all the things again yet, but he can speak up. It all still hits home. It’s doable.”

One of the most challenging parts to their new life with a disability is his wheelchair and having to break it down when they travel. Getting around is troublesome now for him as he gets used to the changes.

“I don’t think the wheelchair is for forever. But, there’s no timeline. Lamar’s progression went from no feeling to now I could touch a certain point in his leg and he doesn’t even know, and he’ll say mom stop touching my right leg. He couldn’t even lift his leg to where now he can a little. When Lamar initially got sick, the right side couldn’t do anything. Now, the left side is the weaker side. It’s all coming along, though,” Ms. Monroe-Wayman said. “And we’re going to be here through it all.”

The changes in his body have been difficult to understand and cope with at times, but Lamar says he can get through it all.

“My muscles help me get around,” Lamar said proudly. “Don’t give up. If I can do it, you can do it.”

His outlook remains positive and his joy, infectious — especially when he gets to go to church to see his godparents, Bishop C.D. Cannon Sr. and his wife LeFeisha.

“He wanted to learn to play the organ, but now he won’t be able to reach the pedals. He just loves music at church,” his mom chimed in.

First, the family needs to adjust to their new needs.

“One of my goals is to get an SUV because it’s hard getting his wheelchair in and our of my small car,” she added.

That’s where Infinite Pro Wrestling comes in — they have planned a family-friendly benefit show for Lamar and his family Saturday, Feb. 2 at the Harrington Fire Company to help the family cover unforeseen expenses.

“We do a fundraising show at least once a year. Last year, we did a fundraiser at the Harrington Fire Hall for a young man paralyzed in a car accident, Tyler Trego,” David Scherich said. “We picked Lamar this time because he has an incredible story. It fit in with what we like to do. We like to give back to the community and do something that will help somebody who needs the help and deserves the help.”

Last year, their benefit show brought in about 300 spectators. This year, they’re hoping to have even more. A portion of money raised through ticket sales and sponsorships will go to Lamar’s family after the event.

“We can’t do this without the public’s help. Without sponsorships from the community and people coming out to see the show, we wouldn’t be able to help Lamar,” he added.

The show, Hartbreak, will feature WWE Hall of Famer Jimmy Hart, former WWE superstar Chris Masters, heavyweight champion Franco Varga and Paragon. It will take place Saturday, Feb. 2 at the Harrington Fire Hall at 20 Clark St. Doors open at 6:30 p.m. and the bell rings at 7 p.m.

General admission tickets can be purchased for $10 online at infiniteprowrestling.com or by calling 800- 214-9687. Front row seats are $20. Those interested in sponsoring the benefit can use the same information.

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