Community support help young mom recover from brain surgery

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Updated: 1/31/2014 6:38 pm
RENO, Nev. (KRNV & -- In October we introduced you Jonnie Schmitt, a 26-year-old mom living with a debilitating brain cyst and struggling to find a doctor willing to perform the surgery she needed and the money to pay for it.

"I really didn't have any life at all, and that happened for about six months to a year," Schmitt said.

Schmitt said the cyst on her pineal gland wouldn't kill her but the symptoms were overwhelming, especially while trying to raise a young daughter. 

"She was the reason that I kept pushing because I had to find an answer so I could take care of her," she said.

The only option was brain surgery and it was a procedure that most specialists refused to do.

"It was scary," Schmitt said. "It scared me for the fact that I might not come out better, I could come out worse or I could come out disabled."

She finally found a doctor at the Skull Base Institute in Los Angeles who was willing to do the procedure and, despite the risks, last week she went under the knife.

"I wanted my life back," she said. "For me to have brain surgery and have this cyst removed was worth it, so that I could be a mom and be a wife and be 26."

When she woke up she said she immediately noticed her chronic headache and dizziness were gone.

Three months ago, she didn't think the day would ever come.

"I never thought we'd have the whole surgery paid for before the surgery," Schmitt said. "I always thought we were going to have to do fundraisers after just to kind of raise the money, and between prayers and everybody here in Reno and family it came through and it was amazing."

She still has to pay for the hospital stay and physical therapy, but Jonnie said she'll never forget the support she's had or what she went through, and she doesn't want to. 

"We'll do a scrapbook and just kind of remember and look back," Schmitt said. "I succeeded and I beat it and here I am."

If you'd like to help Jonnie with her medical bills, you can donate at any Umpqua Bank branch or online through
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