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Fishers mom who lost son in February crash helping son's friend recover from surgery

Doctors found a large tumor near David Russell's brain after he survived a crash that killed his best friend.

FISHERS, Ind. — A Fishers teen is recovering after undergoing surgery for a rare tumor that doctors found in February following a car crash that involved an unthinkable loss for another local family. 

David Russell, a junior at Fishers High School, was released from Riley Hospital for Children Friday after doctors removed a tumor that was between his sinus cavity and brain. The tumor was found in February after Russell was involved in a car accident that killed one of his best friends. 

The mother of that young man, Jake Reibel, calls the situation the "silver lining" to her incredible loss.

“There’s no manual for this," said Kara Kavensky, a mother navigating the daily roller coaster of grief after losing her youngest son, Jake, in February.

“I mean, it’s unimaginable. It’s unfortunately a club that I know several members of, so it’s not easy, obviously," Kavensky said, wiping away tears.

Credit: Kara Kavensky
Jake Riebel

Kavensky's son was only 16 when he died in a car crash near Chicago.  

“He was with four of his best friends and my son went to the coroner’s office and the others went to a trauma unit in an ER in south Chicago," Kavensky said.

RELATED: Fishers student dies, 4 juveniles taken to hospital after crash

While running tests on one of the teens, 17-year-old David Russell, doctors found something unexpected, a tumor the size of a grapefruit in Russell's head. 

“Everyone was just shocked by the discovery of this tumor," said Kavenksy, explaining that up until that point, the tumor had gone undiagnosed, despite Russell dealing with chronic sinus issues and allergies.

“Immediately, I thought, 'Let this kid be the silver lining. Let this be the positive of the situation' and it looks like that’s what’s happening," Kavensky said.

Doctors at Riley Hospital removed the tumor this week. Kavensky learned from Russell's family that it wasn’t cancerous. 

Kavensky started a GoFundMe account to help the family while Russell continues to heal, not just from the surgery, but the crash, too, along with the loss of one of his best friends, Kavensky's son. 

“When I - (and) I can only speak from personal experience - experience anything that’s challenging or difficult, I always look for the positive and losing a kid, there’s no positive," said Kavensky.

The only positive for this mother, is being able to help her son's friend.

“This is natural for me to want to help others and it’s been ... it was difficult for me to accept support. So, it’s more natural for me to give," said Kavensky.

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