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In wake of strokes: Fairmont man facing tough fight

FAMILY TIME — Jason Castillo of Fairmont poses with his children, Jaeger, 3, and Jaylee, 5. Castillo has been hospitalized following multiple strokes near his brain stem because of a blood clot.

FAIRMONT — A benefit for Jason Castillo of Fairmont will be held Dec. 14 at the Fairmont Eagles Club, as he and his family face a major medical challenge.

The benefit will run from 5-8 p.m. and will consist of a soup and sandwich meal, with a dessert bar, for a donation. There also will be a silent auction that runs from 5-7 p.m.

On Oct. 8, Castillo became unresponsive and was flown to the Mayo site in Mankato. After many tests, doctors concluded he has had many strokes near his brain stem.

Castillo is a 2004 graduate of Fairmont High School and has lived in the area his entire life. He has been active in the local softball community. He has two children, Jaylee, 5, and Jaeger, 3.

Because of his medical condition, Castillo has been unable to work. Family friend Sarah Odegaard and Castillo’s mother, Jane Myers, say they appreciate the support they have received. Odegaard shared details on Castillo’s condition.

“What happened with Jason was, when we’re born we have a hole in our heart and it’s supposed to close within the first hour of life, and his never closed,” she said. “It’s called a patent foramen ovale (PFO).

“So he had a blood clot in his leg that exploded and, because of that hole in his heart, the blood went straight to his heart and caused the stroke in his brain. He had multiple strokes near the brain stem, but it all started from the blood clot.

“He’s currently up in the Cities, and they’re working on trying to get him to Rochester for rehab. He’s working on mobility, although he’s struggling a little bit with the right side. But the left side came back fairly well.

“He’s only able to communicate with head nods and a white board, so there’s no verbal communication yet. He shows emotion, he can smile, and laugh and cry, so he’s very much awake and alert. He understands what’s going on and what’s happened to him.”

On Thursday, Myers was able to share an encouraging development.

“He’s been approved for Rochester, so basically we’re just waiting for the insurance to OK it,” she said. “That’s exactly where we want him to be because it’s rehab and it’s therapy.”

Odegaard said Castillo’s children seem to be holding up well: “His kids are doing good with grandma (Jane). She said, ‘I take care of them, but they take care of me.’ I stopped over to drop some winter clothes and things off to them and they are very full and aware of what happened to their dad.”

Myers said her granddaughter recently described how loved she felt thanks to the outreach of the community.

“Jaylee’s comment the other day was that she just can’t believe all the love people have for them,” she said. “Somebody had given her some clothes and that was her comment. The softball community put on a fundraiser for presents for the kids for Christmas and they wanted a list from them. She had a list, but at the top of the list, of course, was that she wanted her daddy to be home.”

As for the benefit, Odegaard says plans are coming along nicely.

“As of today, I know we’re well over 100 items for the auction,” she said. “The outpouring from the community has been great. We’re grateful for everything that has been donated and the prayers and thoughts and kind words.”

Those who would like to donate may contact Odegaard at (507) 848-5511, or donations can be dropped off at Peters Insurance Agency in Fairmont. Donations also can be brought to the benefit. For those who wish to make a financial contribution for the benefit, an account is set up at Profinium in Fairmont.

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