An East Texas girl is undergoing a series of treatments, as she battles a rare form of cancer called Wilms' Tumor. The two-year-old is undergoing chemotherapy treatments, but she's also scheduled to begin radiation treatment and undergo surgery.
Brianna McPherson is just four weeks shy of her third birthday. In late August, Brianna's mother noticed something was wrong. "I was washing her and going over her stomach and I noticed a bulge. Then Friday morning when we got up, she was bending over in agony and it looked like an egg pushing out of that side of her stomach," said Lindsey McPhearson, Brianna's mom.
Lindsey rushed her daughter to the Trinity Mother Frances emergency room. At first, doctors thought the swelling in her stomach had do with her appendix. "The CAT scan showed there was a tumor the size of a cantaloupe on her right side," says McPhearson. Brianna had another tumor on her left kidney and spots on her chest. She was flown to Children's Medical Center in Dallas.
After further tests, Brianna was diagnosed with Wilms' Tumor, a form of kidney cancer in children. Brianna's family was told the disease affects about one in every 250,000 children in the U.S. "It's one thing for an adult to deal with cancer, but for a two-year-old to go through this, who doesn't really understand, she just knows that she's hurting." says Liz Boxberger, Brianna's great-grandmother. "It really upsets me."
Brianna and her family travel to Dallas at least once a week for the toddler to receive treatment for the disease. She has 16 more chemotherapy treatments left. "She's just real weak and tired. Her bones and joints hurt real bad," says McPhearson.
Next week, Brianna is set to begin radiation. And in a few weeks, she'll have surgery to remove the rest of the tumor on her right kidney, and get rid of cancerous tissue on her left kidney.
Lindsey says Brianna's medical bills top $100,000. A family friend has set up a fund at Citizens First Bank in Tyler. If you'd like to help, you can drop off your donations or mail them to the Brianna McPhearson Fund at the bank. The family's church, Our Savior's Lutheran Church, in Tyler is holding a benefit luncheon on Sunday November 6th at 11:30 a.m.