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One man's mission to keep living the dream

By Chloe Johnson

Jason Napier wants to help those facing life-threatening surgery to fulfil their goals

Jason Napier's first goal was to become famous, now he wants to help others.
Jason Napier's first goal was to become famous, now he wants to help others.

A young man on a mission to conquer his dreams is back in the spotlight after making national headlines five years ago for a shameless attempt at becoming famous before undergoing life-threatening brain surgery.

Jason Napier, 28, now has a new dream and this time it's not just about his wishes.

In June, Napier found out a medical condition called arteriovenous malformation (AVM) had returned to his brain after having four seizures in less than 30 minutes.

AVM means he has an area of malformed arteries in the brain and his weak artery walls could rupture at any time.

With the daunting prospect of further brain surgery, Napier created the Dream is Still Alive project, a documentary that will share the journey of five young New Zealanders who also have a dream to fulfil before or after undergoing life-saving surgery.

He is connecting with others who need surgery on different areas of the body to get a wide range of perspectives.

Jason, who is living in Auckland, also wants to team up with health foundations to help make dreams come true.

"The ultimate goal is to provide the participants with the ability to live their dream either prior or post-surgery," Jason said. "The importance of having a goal, or something to look forward to, is key to holistic recovery."

Jason has already begun documenting his own journey on the Dream is Still Alive Facebook page.

He says it is important for others to know what is involved with surgery from a perspective that isn't sugar-coated.

"At times the journey is lonely and you tend to feel like you have done something wrong to deserve this. I want my followers to see first-hand that at times I'm not going to be okay.

"As the one going through this, you want to protect your loved ones by putting up a front of positivity. I have seen the effect this can have on others and it is really hard to watch. If I can help a mother, father, son or daughter to better understand what goes on emotionally, I'll be a happy boy."

In 2009, Napier discovered he had a brain haemorrhage and AVM. Unbeknown to him, he was born with the condition and was only diagnosed at 23 years old after feeling dizzy at work one morning.

Doctors told him death was a possibility so with the help of his friend Jo Paget, he set a mission to fulfil his life-long dream of becoming famous.

After attracting almost 30,000 followers on Facebook and messages of support worldwide, Jason got his 15 minutes of fame. More importantly, his brain surgery was a success. Unfortunately the success did not last long and Napier was taken to hospital to have an emergency CT scan on June 19.

"Even travelling to the hospital, I was seizing in the back of the ambulance," Napier said. "I remember laying there in the lonely hospital room thinking, 'here we go again'."

Although this journey will not be easy, Napier said he feels more prepared for round two.

"I have made a conscious decision to live the experience truthfully, accepting that some days are going to be shit. I now know it is fine to tell those around me that I am not okay."

• If you would like to be part of Jason's documentary email: jointhedream@hotmail.com

- NZ Herald

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