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On May 2, one day before their wedding, Amberle Durano and Hunter Brown volunteered at Buckner Family Pathways, hosting a craft and playtime for the children.

marriage as something centered on serving not only each other, but others around them as well. “We have been the recipients of so much service and of people coming around us and supporting us in difficult times, so I think that’s one of the reasons we really wanted that to be something our marriage is marked by,” Durano said.

Durano and Brown are just 23 years old, but already they know a little something about pain, suffering, commitment and patience.


In 2011, Durano was attending Texas Christian University. She became acquainted with Brown through her roommate. Brown en- joys cooking, and he would come over often, hosting dinner parties for all their friends. “Basically, he likes to cook, and I like to eat,” Durano laughed. It was the start of a friendship, but only a friendship. Durano confessed she never seriously considered dating him because she wanted to be a missionary and he was going to be a professional golfer. In her mind, those two careers were not compatible. Then one day, Durano broke out in a bad case of hives. Because she was having trouble breathing, she went to the emergency room. It was clear she was having an allergic reaction, but the doctor who treated her recognized the severity of her condition almost

immediately. He diagnosed her with an extremely rare disease called toxic epidermal necrolysis syndrome (TENS). TENS is a life-threatening disease usually induced by an adverse reaction to a medication. Often called “the flesh-eating” disease, TENS ravishes the body by destroying not only the skin, but also the body’s mucous membranes and even the organs. Durano was in the hospital for the next several months as TENS consumed her body. She had an extremely severe form, losing 95 percent of her skin and the lining of her eyes, digestive and respiratory tracts. The only part of her body not affected by the disease was her feet.

“It was the most life-changing thing that has ever happened to me,” Durano said. “A lot of people die from this disease, and it’s usually because the doctors can’t figure out what it is in time. Because it is so rare, a lot of doctors just haven’t seen it before, but my ER doctor who diagnosed me had seen it before. It was a miracle we found out so quickly about it.” There is no real treatment for TENS. Externally, it is treated the same as those with severe burns with intense wound care to avoid infection. Internally, it’s a waiting game as the body must rid itself of the affected skin on the body and organs and then regenerate it. It’s a long process that usually takes a year to truly recover from. It was a trying time in Durano’s life. One of the major side effects of the disease was the temporary loss of vision. She had to

22 Buckner Today • SUMMER 2015 ISSUE

Photo by Matt Allen

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