GoFundMe page for coach battling brain disease

A GoFundMe page has been created for a Virginia youth wrestling coach to help him get surgery to deal with a dangerous, debilitating brain disease he describes as "a ticking time bomb."

The parents of Richard Harrell, 24, are seeking $25,000 to fund surgery and travel expenses to the Barrow Neurological Institute in Phoenix where he is scheduled to have surgery in mid-October.

"A little over two years ago I was diagnosed with Arteriovenous Malformation (AVM)," Harrell told WAVY-TV, the NBC affiliate in Portsmouth, Va. "The vessels in my brain that control blood are supposed to look like they're laced together. Mine looks like spaghetti or knots like knotted up rope."

In October 2018, Harrell -- who is a coach at Raider Nation Wrestling Club, a youth wrestling club in Yorktown, Va. -- had emergency brain surgery to try to repair two ruptured brain aneurysms. However, it was a temporary solution.

"So we're switching to cutting my head open now and actually removing the AVM, the mass from my head," Harrell explained.

"We have to fly out and get hotel rooms and all that. We're already $5,000 into the surgery and we haven't even had it yet."

When he's not coaching 50 kids at the wrestling club, Harrell is a full-time engineering student at Old Dominion University working towards his bachelor's degree ... and has a full-time job working for a contractor at NASA's Langley Research Center.

"His wrestling family has been there for each hospital stay providing love, support, encouragement and food," wrote Harrell's mother Minda on the GoFundMe page she created. "A big thank you to them and to all his friends, co-workers and family that have been so supportive throughout."


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