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Joshua Dimmig-Russell and his family have been waiting anxiously and nervously for a long time.

Joshua, a Town of Tonawanda teenager with a debilitating brain condition, is scheduled to have surgery Wednesday in a Long Island hospital.

The condition, diagnosed in June, is known as chiari malformation -- a crowding of the brain stem. As plans were under way for a fund-raiser to help offset the costs of travel and other expenses associated with the surgery, the Dimmig-Russell family lost their home in a fire that destroyed all of their possessions.

The family has been living in a rented house since the fire and hopes to rebuild. Meanwhile, gifts from the community poured in, allowing Joshua, his parents and his grandparents to travel to North Shore University Hospital on Long Island.

"The response from the community was overwhelming. It was amazing," said the boy's mother, Becky Dimmig-Russell.

Joshua, who attends Kenmore East High School, is expected to spend five to 10 days in the hospital and another four to six months recuperating at home. The gifts will also help defray the cost of hiring medical aides during the recuperation.

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