When 9-year-old Ciara Brill started getting headaches, her parents didn’t think too much about it. Usually Tylenol cleared them up and she was back to her normal, cheerful self.
But when Ciara woke up one morning with a lazy eye and had trouble seeing, her parents rushed her to the doctor, and it was there they learned the heartbreaking news – Ciara had an extremely aggressive brain tumor.
“She was terminal upon diagnosis,” Ciara’s father, Harold, explained. “They said she had a tumor in her brain stem that went into the middle of her brain. That it was large and inoperable. It is every parent’s worst nightmare.”
Then came even more devastating news:
“They told us it was pretty serious, that it wasn’t a matter of years — it was a matter of months,” Stacie, Ciara’s mother, recalled. “It is indescribable how horrible it is.”
The cancer Ciara has is called DIPG. It is most common among children ages 4 to 11 and affects the part of the brain that controls the heartbeat, swallowing, eyesight, and balance.
Harold and Stacie were heartbroken, but they made a decision to help Ciara live out her final days with joy instead of fear.
Ciara and her 10-year-old brother know she is sick, but they don’t know she is dying. She has to undergo intense radiation treatments 5 days a week for six weeks, but in between those treatments her parents are helping her make the most of the time she has left by crossing items off her bucket list.
“We just want her to enjoy every day that she has right now,” Harold said. “We are going to show her the world.”
“Anything she can think of, we’re going to try to make it happen,” Stacie added. “She keeps talking about sitting on a beach.”
With the help of friends, family, and perfect strangers, the family has raised money to help Ciara live out all of her dreams.
Their first stop was the Great Wolf Lodge water park in Pennsylvania because Ciara wanted to swim.
They have since attended basketball games, been awarded a trip to Florida, and even got a surprise get-well message from actor Mark Wahlberg.
Ciara was even made an honorary four-star general by the New Hampshire National Guard!
While the family is still hoping and praying for a miracle, their focus is on making the most of every day they have with Ciara, however many that ends up being.
“We are just trying to do little things to keep her happy and put a smile on her face from here on out,” Stacie said.
The family has asked for people to keep Ciara in their prayers. You can follow her journey – and all of her adventures – on her Facebook page.
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