A fundraiser is planned for the family of a Fort Worth police officer recovering from a surgery to remove to a large brain tumor.
The fundraiser Monday held at Café Republic in Fort Worth, which is owned by two fellow officers, is for Ofc. Bryan Lafaurie. He has been with the Fort Worth Police Department for more than six years.
“I’ve been working since 15 years old, and I’ve held more than dozens of jobs in every field of work. By far, the police department has been the most rewarding,” Lafaurie said. “The camaraderie, the brotherhood – it’s like no other.”
In late October, Lafaurie underwent surgery after doctors discovered a tumor pushing his brain stem out of alignment.
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“Literally the words verbatim from the doctor was, 'It’s a massive brain tumor. It’s the biggest one that it can get,'" Lafaurie said.
The medical term for the tumor is acoustic neuroma, which develops on the main vestibular nerve leading from the inner ear to the brain. According to the Mayo Clinic, branches of the nerve directly influence balance and hearing.
“I was driving home when he told me and when I came home, I think I cried for hours. Just the very shock of it, because he was so young and it’s such a severe diagnosis to have a brain tumor,” Lafaurie's wife Lays said. “He’s the one that handles most of the heavy lifting, I guess in our lives – our finances and taking care of our family. Seeing him prepare things – of his possible death and preparing our family for that was just very emotional for me.”
Lafaurie's doctors told him the tumor is believed to be what caused the pain he experienced last year on the right side of his face, known as trigeminal neuralgia. The National Institute of Neurological Disorders & Stroke cites the intensity of pain can be "physically and mentally incapacitating."
“It was literally everything from my gums, to my nose, to my head. It’s literally like getting tased or probed – getting shocks. Extremely painful and very rough,” he said. “That developed into tinnitus – ringing of the ear. That ringing sound, which made me lose my hearing for a while.”
Within a year, Lafaurie lost 60% of his hearing. The surgery in October left him with temporary partial facial paralysis.
In the meantime, Lafaurie said he has done acupuncture and undergone chiropractic care for muscle recovery, but was unable to work. His medical journey has been tough to deal with, he said – both emotionally and financially.
However, he said he has a long list of people to thank, including his doctors, family and fellow officers.
“Their efforts and kindness has literally helped me – I’m alive because of it. I’m alive because of their prayers, their thoughts, their text messages, their phone calls. I’m alive because of that,” he said. “All the money in the world could not save what I went through. I could spend millions of dollars. It did not matter. It is the kindness that saved me.”
Lafaurie said he hoped to return to the department as soon as he was medically cleared and serve the community once again.
Twenty-five percent of all proceeds Monday at Café Republic will go directly to Lafaurie’s family. The restaurant is located at 8640 N. Beach Street in Fort Worth and is open between 7 a.m. and 3 p.m. on Monday.