Stefani Perdue didn’t know where she was.
There was a small difference of about 10 minutes between when Perdue, 19, answered her phone to let her mother, Michele Gutierrez, know that she was fine after a session with friends at the skatepark, and when she called her mother back in a state of confusion.
When her mother and stepfather arrived in Brimmer Park, Perdue was wandering in the grass. They called her name, to which she turned and said she didn’t know what was going on.
At the hospital, doctors suspected the effects of alcohol poisoning, drug use or head trauma during that night’s session at the skate park.
Today, she is at Craig Hospital in Englewood, Colorado, where she is learning to move the right side of her body, speak, eat and drink, with a small cap covering the spot on her skull. that the neurosurgeons had to cut.
“Before I knew it, this neurosurgeon was already there in the hospital, and they said they rushed to get him there,” Gutierrez said. “He would go in and remove the ‘cap’ part of the skull to relieve the pressure on his brain to try and clean some of the blood, because it had ruptured.”
Perdue is a local skater from Cheyenne, who learned of her rare condition in late July in a sudden and brutal way, as most arteriovenous malformations (AVMs) do. After a skateboarding session with her friends, she got up abruptly and left.
The cause was a ruptured AVM – the hemorrhage of clumped and tangled blood vessels connecting the veins and arteries of the brain, leading to brain bleeding and, in Perdue’s case, a violent stroke. This happened in the left side of his brain, thus damaging the function of the right side of his body.
She can lift her leg, move her shoulder, but she can’t move her right arm or hand. It took some time for the right side of his throat to respond to the ingestion of food. They warn his parents about the regular convulsions due to the injury.
But she dresses herself, takes a shower, chews chopped food, uses her own wheelchair, and responds by nodding to her parents and sometimes even whispering — far beyond what doctors thought. she would never do it again.
Perdue’s doctors, when speaking with Gutierrez, have already called her daughter a “miracle child” because when she was first taken in for emergency surgery, they predicted she was left with about 48 hours to live.
“I was in the room with her when she was whispering, and I was like, ‘Oh my God.’ I just started crying,” Gutierrez said. “Everything she does now makes me cry. Going from a perfectly healthy child to a child who probably won’t make it, to now…”
Purdue is not expected to be able to walk a skateboard again, but Gutierrez and Purdue’s sister-in-law, Mercedes Garcia, with the help of Cheyenne’s small skateboarding community, are doing what they can. to help the situation in a way Perdue would approve.
Medical bills are getting pretty high, so the skateboarding community in the surrounding Front Range area joins forces with Shred 4 Stef, a rare and well-planned skateboarding competition open to anyone looking to compete or watch talented skateboarders perform. throw.
All funds raised by attendees and attendees stopping by vendors during the Sept. 23 event will be donated to Perdue’s family to help ease the financial strain. The skateboarding community may be small, said event organizer Mason Dieters, but it has roots Cheyenne can recognize when needed.
“Some of the locals that have a lot of competitions (in Fort Collins, Colorado) will come out and participate,” Dieters said. “I think the community that surrounds the music scene here (overshadows) the skateboarding community. There are not many skaters. But when something happens, it’s really very close.
For those unfamiliar with a skateboarding competition, Shred 4 Stef follows a typical format, with different categories of challenges between skaters. Within these categories, there are sub-categories.
Street skateboarding involves flat ground tricks, rather than those performed in halfpipes or bowls. Categories unique to street competition are things like “best grind” or a game of SKATE, which follows the same rules as the game of HORSE in basketball – one skater performs a trick and the other has to replicate it with hit.
Both categories will contain competitions such as “best lap” and “best line”.
The organizers of Shred 4 Stef enlisted the professional help of a former skate rat, better known locally as City Councilman Richard Johnson.
In the 90s, Johnson worked as a freelance photographer and writer for Thrasher Magazine, over the decade interacting with some of skateboarding’s biggest names, including Tony Hawk, Ronny Creager, Rob Dyrdek and Bam Margera. He was a major proponent of the creation and development of the Brimmer Skatepark and coverage of the skateboarding scene present at the time on the Front Range.
Originally, Mason wanted Johnson to be one of three judges for the contest.
“I was like, ‘No, I’m really into tricks,'” Johnson said with a laugh. “Back foot toe frequency, front foot toe drag, I’m a fan. I don’t want some poor kid’s mother coming in and yelling in my face because he had a back foot and was dragging a Tre-flip.
Johnson will announce the entire competition, however. He also helped the organizers plan the event, given his involvement and experience in running many local skateboarding competitions in the past.
Cheyenne may not have a large community of skaters, but it is a community that looks out for each other.
“It’s funny, I don’t even know the person they’re fundraising for,” Johnson said. “When they asked me (to be part of it), I was like, ‘This is the skate community. I’ll help out if needed.
Ironically, getting attention isn’t exactly Perdue’s style.
Gutierrez recently presented the proposal to Perdue, who in his limited capacity shook his head no. Although she was planned by her local friends and fellow skaters, she was never interested in drawing attention to herself.
“She just shook her head,” Gutierrez said. “I said, ‘I know you don’t know. You don’t like all the attention, but this will help.
Perdue’s only goal is to one day stand upright on his skateboard again.
“She’s all embarrassed, but I said ‘you’re gonna come back to skateboarding eventually,’ and she just shook her head very excited,” Gutierrez said. “You will, you’re going to have to make some adjustments.”