CMU senior dies following complications with disorder
Standing just four and a half feet tall, Bryan Fischer lived life to the fullest.
The Central Michigan University senior from Leonard loved traveling, watching sports and being involved.
About four years ago, he made the decision to attend the CMU-Purdue football game in West Lafayette, Ind. His father, Kurt Fischer, remembers the phone call.
“He said he was on a bus,” Fischer said. “He bought a ticket for $15 and went … by himself. Three days in (to this freshman year).”
Bryan could be seen on the game broadcast later, along with the small contingent of CMU fans who attended the game that day.
“After that, he was all about the college experience,” Kurt Fischer said.
Bryan died Tuesday, July 17, following complications with Maroteaux-Lamy Syndrome, also referred to as MPS VI, a deficiency of the enzyme required for the breakdown of certain complex carbohydrates. He was 23.
Bryan was like any other kid growing up, Kurt Fischer said. He learned how to roller skate and played roller hockey. He played with friends without problems.
But when he turned 12, as other boys began hitting puberty, it was evident he could no longer keep up. It became apparent during Bryan’s sophomore year at Oxford High School, where he was a drummer in the marching band. Despite being in the center, he struggled to keep up with the movements.
“He stopped participating in sports and became a sports watcher,” Kurt Fischer said. “I think it bothered him a little bit … but he never said anything. I wondered if it bothered him because he couldn’t do the things he wanted to.”
After taking him to the doctor, it was determined MPS VI was constricting his spinal cord. Bones became malformed and he didn’t have full mobility in his legs. Neck surgery was done to remove screws and plates.
Kurt Fischer recalled the countless battles he and his wife Karen had in taking Bryan to see doctors. During Bryan’s senior year in high school, a treatment was developed for MPS that allowed the needed enzyme to be fed through an IV.
“We had convinced him that he didn’t have to see all these doctors, but this one,” Kurt Fischer said with a laugh.
And despite all of his health problems, he fingers curled and he developed a limp to his walk, he tried to live a normal life. He attended his senior prom, something neither of his parents or younger brother experienced.
“He wanted to enjoy life,” Kurt Fischer said. “Since freshman year, he went to every dance, every float building event … every high school experience, he wanted to be a part of it.”
Things were no different at CMU, where he pledged to Phi Chi Theta, a co-ed professional business fraternity. He was denied his first time, but pledged a year later and was accepted with open arms.”
He went on to hold several positions in the group, most recently alumni director, and helped plan several trips.
“He was an integral part in planning our trip to New York last year,” said Ben Ford, PCT president during the 2011-12 academic year. “We went out there last year and had a really good time.
“We had a good time going to the CMU football games. … It’s kind of weird that we’re not going to get to do that anymore.”
Dave Williams, a CMU alum from Berkley, was roommates with Bryan last year. He referred to Fischer as a mature, intellectual guy.
“I’d ask for advice on many things,” Williams said. “I could always trust his opinion because he was level-headed.”
Bryan, majoring in entrepreneurship, earned all of his credits at CMU and was in the process of completing a 400-hour internship to achieve graduation.
“He was a few hours short of getting his degree,” Kurt Fischer said. “Our hope is that he’ll still be able to get it.”
Funeral arrangements were held over the weekend in Rochester.
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