Why I Walk | vanKoeverdens

A few months after her third birthday, Ana was diagnosed with a Low Grade Pilocytic Astrocytoma, a slow-growing tumor in her brainstem.  She was a spunky little 3-year-old when this journey began, facing a battle that seemed far too big for her little body.  The tumor is in a place too delicate to remove, so Ana’s first treatment was a 15-month chemo regime. Two years later came another nine months of chemo, followed by six weeks of radiation. Then after four years of stable scans, the tumor grew again.  It has been stubbornly persistent since 2017, doubling in size since January of this year.  In late May, she had her second neuro-surgery.  She’s currently working diligently to regain her strength, doing neuro re-ed with physical therapy.  Then it’s back to the fight, rolling up her sleeves to start her 8th line of treatment.

Eleven years ago, we would have told you that it was impossible to be so smitten and enamored by an intense story with so much sadness and bad news that comes along with childhood cancer.  Yet our hearts couldn’t be more full right now.  We’ve learned more from pain than we ever could have from pleasure; the struggle has become an essential part of our story.  It’s the things we can’t change, that end up changing us…and here we are, being transformed again. We’re grateful for every single word, for every single line, for every single chapter of this story.  She is such a gift to us and to the world.

Organizations like Brains Together for a Cure are essential in promoting brain tumor awareness, bringing to light the dire need for more effective treatments.  The generosity of donors supporting this organization are essential for progress to continue.  The support received from a community facing similar battles is invaluable in a cancer survivors journey.