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It Takes a Village: Coming Together to Battle Brain Cancer

By Lisa Kersting, grateful mom
Published on May 26, 2016

I Ran the Shamrock Shuffle

“It takes a village” can sound like such a cliché but it actually rings true for us. If it were not for our village—the Midwest Children’s Brain Tumor Center (MCBTC), and our family and friends—our journey would have been vastly different.

On September 9, 2009, our daughter Madalynne (who had just celebrated her first birthday) was diagnosed with Ependymoma, a cancerous brain tumor. Mady was rushed into emergency surgery performed by John Ruge, MD, director of the Midwest Children’s Brain Tumor Center at Advocate Children’s Hospital. Mady spent the next 9½-weeks in the hospital. During that period, her tumor grew back. In a quest to save her life, we traveled to Le Bonheur Children’s Hospital in Memphis, Massachusetts General in Boston and finally back to Advocate Children’s Hospital in Park Ridge. In all, Mady endured two more brain surgeries, four months of chemotherapy and six weeks of proton radiation.

Having spent the beginning years of her life in and out of hospitals, Mady feels right at home at Advocate Children’s Hospital. She looks forward to all the events that the MCBTC hosts thanks to generous support from donors. Of course, her top favorites are Peds in the Weeds, the December holiday party and Water Works. As parents, we enjoy the Mother’s Day event, Father’s Day event and the wonderful pictures donated by Flashes of Hope. It’s these inclusive events that help us feel like we are not alone in this battle against cancer.

MCBTC has helped us find solace in our everyday lives. Our new normal—having a child with cancer—is something our family can embrace because of the vast knowledge shared with us by the staff, as well as the camaraderie offered by support groups and family events. The ability to share both good times and bad with others who share our journey is what makes our village. We are forever grateful for the continued support we receive from the MCBTC, our extended family and friends.

Today, we are pleased to share that Mady is now 6 years cancer free!!

May is Brain Tumor Awareness Month. The Midwest Children’s Brain Tumor Center is dedicated to improving the future of children with brain tumors. Charitable gifts play a vital role, and enable MCBTC to keep up with the latest technology and conduct research into new treatments. Gifts also help cover the cost of family support programs, child life therapy and services like the School Advisory Program.