Our daughter Anabella was a perfectly healthy baby with no issues at birth and reached every milestone on time.  There were no signs that anything was wrong up until 3 weeks of her diagnosis.  She began vomiting frequently, then her balance became shaky, and lastly she had no desire to walk or play.  On Friday September 9, 2011 our daughter’s pediatrician sent us to our local children’s hospital to have a cat scan of the brain. That is when we received the devastating news that our 17 month old baby girl had a tumor in her brain.  Anabella was diagnosed with anaplastic ependomoma, she underwent a 9 hour surgery and thankfully her surgeon was able to fully resect it.  We were blessed that she recovered from the surgery with no side effects and was released to go home after only one week.  Due to the nature of her tumor we then had to relocate to Jacksonville Florida so she could do 6 weeks of proton radiation.  She was sedated 5 days a week for over an hour to receive her treatment.  The staff was amazing and only after 2 weeks of being there our baby girl actually enjoyed going to the treatment center.  We were thankful that she never had any ill side effects from her treatment and that she was herself every day. Due to this we were able to do things as a family during our time there. 6 weeks flew by and we were so happy to return home December 2011 to celebrate Christmas with our baby girl.   Shortly after she completed her treatments we started her in physical therapy 2x a week to help her regain some strength and help her with balance.  



It is now one year since finishing her treatment, she has had all CLEAR scans AND She is now running, jumping and is being dismissed from PT! It is amazing what a difference a year can make. We are beyond thrilled that she is doing so well. Anabella will continue to get scans every 3 months and we are still haunted with the fear that this horrible tumor could return. In the meantime, we pray daily and try to focus on enjoying our little girl and love watching her grow. It is important to us to keep this horrible disease close to our hearts and continue to be a part of the cause. Most importantly, to teach Anabella as she gets older about giving back to those who are now in the situation she was once in. She has helped me create blankets for children who are being treated at the Jacksonville Proton Center and we are starting a toy drive for children at the Neurosurgery department at Miami Children’s hospital. Our next goal is to give back to The Summer Hope Foundation and of course The Brain Tumor Foundation! We know it has only been 1 year and we are not even close to being out of the woods but we hope our story of our little girl can give other families some hope with their child that may be going through the same thing as we did. Stories of hope and amazing organizations such as the Brain Tumor Foundation is what got us through the most difficult time in our life.