Bryan Perrier's song of resolve

Stephen S. Gaines / Staff Intern
(Left to right) Pediatric Neurosurgeon Dr. Lori McBride, Tishara Cushenberry and spina bifida patient Bryan Perrier pose for a photo together Friday, July 21.

The will of resolve is strong within Gonzales youth Bryan Perrier, as he lives every day with a condition many people could not fathom.

Perrier is a fourteen-year-old who is suffering from the condition of spina bifida. Spina bifida is a condition that causes the bone structure of the spinal cord to form incorrectly. Many children that have spina bifida cannot walk properly or stand for long periods of time. Children are affected by spina bifida at birth with a neural tube defect or NTD.

When Perrier was around two years old doctors said that he could never walk. Although he was able to walk throughout his childhood, as he got older the weight of his body began to take its toll. Now Perrier is wheelchair-bound with limited ability to walk. He is mostly able to walk with the assistance of others.

But the effort to walk independently takes a serious strain on his body now that he is developing into an adult. Even still, he manages to overcome expectations set forth by the doctors of his youth.

Pediatric Neurosurgeon Dr. Lori McBride has been Perrier’s doctor for years. She told the Weekly Citizen about her treatment of his condition. People with spina bifida cannot absorb brain fluid into the abdomen properly, so they have a shunt to help them absorb brain fluid. Children with spina bifida often have to attend physical therapy. Perrier has been going to physical therapy since he was only months old, yet from 2008 to 2013 hesucceeded in ending the need for physical therapy.

By 2010, he had surgery done that hindered his movement. Most kids with spina bifida do not go without physical therapy for long periods of time. The mere fact that Perrier was capable and willing to do so for such a long period is nothing short of astounding.

His mother, Tishara Cushenberry has been pushing him towards a normal life. She treats him not like he has a disease, but like he is a normal kid. She also keeps him active in school, making sure that he is making good grades and keeping a positive mindset. Even with such a condition, Perrier stills dreams of becoming either a wrestler or a zookeeper. He also wants to go to college. He keeps a close relationship with Dr. McBride even when having to drive from Gonzales to New Orleans to see her.

Dr. McBride has been with the Children’s Hospital in New Orleans for over twelve years. However, she recently moved to Our Lady of the Lake Children’s Hospital on July 5 of this year. One of the eight neurosurgeons in Louisiana, she is certified by the American Board of Neurological Surgeons and the American Board of Pediatric Neurological Surgeons. She earned her medical degree from the LSU Medical Center in New Orleans. She witnessed Perrier grow up during her time in New Orleans. Now she oversees his further development with the helpful staff of the OLOL Children’s Hospital.

Perrier is not troubled at all by his spina bifida. Instead, he looks forward to living life like everyone else. With a loving mother and decided doctor and friend, and mostly with his resolve, Bryan seems adamant to living life at its fullest.