EAST NAPLES — Stephanie Brown-Bryant, an East Naples woman believed to have Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease, died at her Naples home Wednesday. She was 58.
"It was very peaceful. She was very relaxed, she continued like as normal," son Charlie Bryant said. "But this hit us very suddenly."
Brown-Bryant was the subject of a Monday, July 30, front-page story in the Daily News. Her son moved to Naples from Providence, R.I., after his mother was diagnosed in mid-June.
Cruetzfeldt-Jakob disease, commonly referred to as CJD, is a rare degenerative brain disorder that affects about one in every million people annually worldwide. About 200 of those cases each year are found in the United States.
There are three major categories of the disease — "sporadic," which accounts for 85 percent of cases and no known risk factors; "hereditary," which involves family history; and "acquired," where exposure is tied to contaminated surgical instruments or certain medical procedures. There also is a variant of the disease that's linked to eating contaminated beef.
Bryant said he's received a steady stream of support from family, friends and community members. Home Depot recently replaced the broken air-conditioning system, City Mattress delivered a new mattress for his mom, and friends and neighbors kept their refrigerator full with meals.
In the hours after his mother's death on Wednesday, Bryant said he received 108 text messages, 65 phone calls and 257 Facebook notifications from people offering support and condolences.
"It's been a phenomenal thing," Bryant said of the support his family has received.
Bryant said his father, sister and grandmother planned to head to the beach Wednesday night for a quiet moment together to celebrate her life. A memorial service is in the works for Saturday at sunset, and Bryant said that too will be held at the beach.
Bryant said he plans to use this experience to help others. The family, he said, plans to start a foundation that aims to work with children who have sick parents.
"The memories of my mother are going to be able to get me through this," he said. "My duty to this community is just beginning."
Stephanie Irene Brown-Bryant passed away peacefully on Wednesday afternoon Aug. 1, 2012
at her East Naples, Florida Home surrounded by her family. Stephanie's Inspiration and
Charisma will be continued on through the lives of her Son, Charlie Bryant III, 24, of Naples and Daughter
Ashleigh Bryant, 27, of Naples. Stephanie leaves behind her Mother, Irene Brown of Naples, her soul mate Charles Bryant Jr.,
Brother, Bob Brown and Family. Her dog and protector Luna, and many family members and friends.Stephanie was a mother to everyone and
touched everyone in her presence.
Steph was preceded in the passing of her Father, Lt.Col Robert L. Brown of Naples, and Her sister, Pamela Rhodes of Naples.
A celebration of Stephanie's Life will be held at The Naples Beach Club at 7 p.m. Saturday Aug. 4, 2012, for a Sunset Tribute. Stephanie's Family wishes to gather at The Bryant Family Home at 2508 Kings Lake Blvd. Naples, FL 34112 immediately following. Funeral Arrangements will be held privately for the family.
Donations and Contributions may be made to Ashleigh & Charlie Bryant for their journey to help others.