Written by Brock Markham (Damian's Dad)
I wasn't home with Brittany and Damian when she got the call of Damian's diagnosis in March of 2021. We knew a call would be coming at some point because we were told they were running the specific tests for Neimann-Pick, but we weren't expecting it that weekend. We weren't expecting a call on the results, but we DEFINITELY were not expecting to hear that Damian had type A. We were told there was "absolutely no way" he had type A; he couldn't! How do you comfort your wife when you come home to the news that your infant son is dying? What do you say when you not only weren't expecting that call that early, but weren't expecting that to be the news; and you weren't even there when she got the call?
I've said many times since then that it didn't seem real. At any time, the doctor would call and say, "there was a mistake. Damian doesn't actually have ASMD. He actually has this different sickness and here is the medicine or cure for it". But that call will never come, and as Damian began to regress it became more and more real. But when the doctor gave Brittany that ultimatum, that "this doesn't have a happy ending. This ends in a funeral" Brittany decided to fight. Maybe she looked into Damian's eyes after the call and they both came to an unspoken understanding because anyone who spends any time with Damian can see that he is fighting just as hard as his mother. You can see how much he loves and trusts his mother when he looks up at her with his big, heart eyes. With all he's been through-the countless doctors visits, hours of therapy a week and often throwing up because of the pressure on his stomach from an enlarged liver and spleen, including waking up in his crib with dried puke around his face-he is almost always smiling, babbling and singing. And this is especially true when he is with his mother.
Brittany is one of the strongest people I know; maybe beat out only by a little bit by Damian. That's not to say everyday has been happy, sunny or even hopeful. On the contrary, many days are difficult, seemingly dark and hopeless. I've been there many times where the pressures of working more than fulltime to advance Damian's campaign has seemed like too much for her, and I can only imagine there have been more days like that where I haven't been there to see it. But Brittany pushes on. If you were to ask her however, I don't think there ever was a second choice; the ONLY option was to fight and do everything possible for Damian. And just seeing the way Damian looks up at his mother makes it obvious he has some small understanding of what she is doing for him, and he loves her for it; we both do.
Throughout our marriage, but especially the last year, Brittany has shown incredible faith in our Savior and is truly the heart of our home. She relentlessly pushes forward and Damian encourages her with his handsome smile and morning routine of sweetly singing until she comes to get him. (There are some days where he's, shall we say, a little more impatient. But those are fewer than his happy mornings). Both Damian and I love Brittany more than anything, and are grateful to have you as a wife and mother. We love you.