13 children in the U.S. are diagnosed with a brain tumor every day.
Each has their own special story. Here are some of the children who have been featured through Winning With Wyatt events and activities.
Wyatt is an energetic, funny nine-year-old boy who loves sports, games, playing outside and horsing around with his friends and siblings. In May of 2016, when Wyatt was six years old, he suddenly became disoriented, nauseous and had a severe headache. A day later, a trip to the Emergency Room revealed a tumor the size of a tennis ball. He underwent emergency surgery to remove an anaplastic ependymoma tumor followed by three days in a coma as he stabilized. He went on to complete thirty-three proton radiation treatments over seven weeks. In November 2018 Wyatt was told his tumor had returned and he underwent another brain surgery. Thankfully it was not a tumor, but rather a vascular lesion which formed as a side effect of his radiation treatments. Wyatt’s current MRI’s scans are clear, but, unfortunately, there is a strong likelihood of his brain tumor returning. He will continue to be monitored throughout his lifetime.
Graham is a courageous twelve-year-old who enjoys the Chicago Cubs, the Beatles, fishing, collecting baseball cards and playing video games. He was diagnosed with an inoperable, disseminated low-grade brain tumor and hydrocephalus in September 2011, at the age of three. His treatment has included four different chemotherapy protocols, many different side effects, various therapies, additional surgeries, hospitalizations, and numerous MRIs, scans and tests. Graham had been off treatment since February 2016, however a recent MRI in January 2019 showed some progression in his tumor. Graham tried an oral chemotherapy for four months which, unfortunately, was not successful. He will start his sixth chemo regimen in July 2019 and will continue to fight.
Sophie is a compassionate and caring fifteen-year-old who loves helping others, going to the beach, spending time with friends and family, and cheering on the Chicago Cubs. In January 2006, when Sophie was eighteen months old, she was diagnosed with a brain tumor on her optic nerve which led to an additional diagnosis of Neurofibromatosis 1 – a genetic neurological disorder that developed through a mutation of her genes during childbirth. A week after she turned two she began chemotherapy to shrink her inoperable brain tumor. Over nearly two years, and after 52 sessions of chemotherapy, Sophie was deemed cancer-free. Although Sophie will continue to need MRIs, their frequency has diminished.
Violet is an artistic nine-year-old girl who loves to draw characters and animals, write short stories and plays, and loves being silly with her sister. Violet was diagnosed with a stage 2 Ependymoma of the spinal cord in May 2013, just a few weeks before her third birthday. She underwent an eighteen-hour surgery, which removed most of the tumor, but left her temporarily paralyzed. Post-surgery, Violet received intense physical therapy, learning to crawl and walk again. Over the next couple of years, she underwent two more tumor resection surgeries with mixed results. Because of the large size and location of her initial tumor, Violet has irreparable nerve damage that affects the use of her right leg. Although a tumor fragment is still present on her spine, it hasn’t grown in almost five years. Violet goes for MRI scans once a year.
Charlotte is an active, spunky nine-year-old who loves diving, swimming and most of all, the beach. At the age of five, Charlotte was diagnosed with epilepsy. After a routine MRI, her doctors discovered a brain tumor in her right temporal lobe and in February 2016, she underwent surgery to remove a majority of her tumor, a low-grade benign ganglioglioma. Today, Charlotte remains on her epilepsy medication and continues to have an EEG and MRI annually to monitor regrowth of her tumor.
Jack found his true calling at an early age – he loved to make people laugh. His sister once said that she didn’t believe there was a day when Jack did not make a joke. Jack was diagnosed with a medullablastoma in January 2008 at the age of eleven. Three days later, he had surgery. His treatment plan included six weeks of daily radiation, inpatient and outpatient chemotherapy treatments over fifteen months and physical therapy to help counteract the effects of treatment on his balance and strength. Jack was in remission for five years. His cancer re-surfaced in 2014. He underwent more chemotherapy, multiple hospitalizations, and prepared for a stem cell transplant, which was cancelled when it became apparent that his tumor was not responding to treatment. Jack passed away on September 18, 2014, three months after graduating from high school.