By Mary Drier
AKRON — When Justin Grzemkowski, Jr. was getting ready for his first deer hunting trip, he had a different case of “buck fever.”
“Up until it was time to leave to go hunting Justin was all excited, but then he started having second thoughts,” said his step-mother Amanda.
Reality sank in for the 12-year-old that “he would have to actually kill an animal for the first time,” and he didn’t like that idea.
There was only one thing that urged him on to hunt – the possibility of helping a little boy he never met have something he could eat.
“At first, I didn’t want to hunt… to kill,” said Grzemkowski. “Then, I thought about that boy who could only eat venison. I went hunting to try to help him.”
Dmitri Sylvester, 5, has a rare allergy to every kind of meat except venison.
“There are only a few vegetables and fruits that Dmitri can eat,” said his mother, Holly Kuck. “If he eats anything outside of that, he goes into Anaphylactic shock, which could kill him.”
Because there are so few foods Dmitri can eat, his jaw muscles are very weak.
“It’s so hard for him to understand that he can’t just eat thing.”
Dmitri and his mother used to live in Fairgrove but had to move to Pontiac to be closer to a children’s hospital there.
Anaphylactic shock is a life-threatening type of allergic reaction when a person eats or comes into contact to something they are allergic to.
“When Dmitri has an allergic reaction, I have to give him an EpiPen shot… sometimes a couple of them. Then, I have to get him to a hospital when he has such a reaction,” said Kuck.
Grzemkowski heard about Sylvester’s condition because the mothers of the boys were high school friends who reconnected with each other a few years ago, and because of Grzemkowski’s Grandmother Robin Vollmar’s effort to help the family.
“For never having met Dmitri and just hearing about his not being able to eat anything but venison, what Justin did was amazing,” said Vollmar. “We are so proud of him.”
For his first hunting trip, even though he was some what reluctant, Grzemkowski did well. He shot a five-point buck that weighed about 150 pounds using a 20 – gauge shotgun on the Vollmar family farm on Akron Road. He donated all of the meat to Dmitri.
“The donation of this venison is a wonderful gift for him,” said Kuck noting they are very thankful.
The two families hope other hunters would also be willing to help Dmitri by donating a couple of pounds of venison when they process their deer. To make a donaiton, call (989) 325-1969.
Mary Drier is a staff writer for the Tuscola County Advertiser. She can be reached at [email protected]