By: Debra Pyka
Mother of Joseph Chernach (07/11/86 – 06/06/12)
After losing my son, Joseph, to suicide I decided to donate his brain tissue for research at the request of my oldest son. We were searching for an explanation for his change in behavior, mood and depression which he had been suffering for years. Knowing an autopsy was ordered by the coroner at the time of death the decision was painful yet we were also searching for answers to our devastating loss. The CTE diagnosis was not a shock to me as I knew Joseph would be diagnosed with CTE, but we were shocked as to the severity and damaged caused by this preventable disease. Dr. Ann McKee diagnosed Joseph with Stage II-III CTE.
On a recent trip to Mayo Clinic in Jacksonville, FL., I was able to watch the slicing of several brains by Dr. Dennis Dickson and other neuropathologist students from other countries. We were given a tour of the brain bank by Kevin Bieniek and learned the importance of research and science to help us understand how the brain can be affected by many different neurological diseases. Brain donation will provide important information as to a final diagnosis and advance research to prevent these neurological diseases in the future. Please consider donating your loved one’s brain if they were exposed to head trauma at any age from collision sports. Contact us for further information for brain donation. 1- 800-891-1342.