CHARLOTTE, N.C. (WBTV) - September 3rd:
A routine trip to the pediatrician changed Brinn Andrew’s family forever.
While 20-month-old Brinn was getting a check-up last December, her mom Kellie asked doctors to take a look at her belly. Nothing huge. She’d just noticed it stuck out a bit.
"It looked like a little pop-belly,” she said. “I wasn't worried about a thing."
After feeling Brinn's stomach, the doctor sent Kellie and Brinn to a lab for an ultrasound. An hour later they had a bed ready and waiting at Levine Children's Hospital. Scans concluded that Brinn had a large tumor off her left adrenal gland.
A biopsy confirmed Stage 3 neuroblastoma.
You guys know about neuroblastoma. Despite it being labeled as a “rare” type of pediatric cancer, multiple #MollysKids battle or have battled this type of cancerous tumor often found on top of the kidneys, or in the belly, chest, neck, pelvis or bones. Children under the age of 5 are most commonly affected.
Since diagnosis, Brinn has turned two, had 4 cycles of chemo, underwent surgery where doctors successfully removed 97% of the cancer and in late July… a stem cell transplant. Over the next year, she’ll go through 2 more rounds of chemo, radiation, and immunotherapy.
"No chemo or treatment has gotten her down," Kellie said, "She is an independent toddler who steals the hearts of everyone she meets. Nurses argue over who gets to be her nurse when she's admitted.”
Inversely, Kellie couldn't say enough wonderful things about the staff commitment to getting Brinn well.
“This month is supposedly about awareness, but it’s more than that,” she said. “Pediatric cancer needs funding.”
Yes. Yes, yes, yes.
“Rare” cancers need research; research needs organization and dollars.
Kellie talks about this type of stuff often on her IG page, @bravebrinn, while also sharing great photos of her daughter. I also just posted about Brinn on my Instagram stories (@molly_grantham) because her mom has quite a message and is trying to get the word out. (Kellie – I stalked your Facebook page and was impressed with your facts and drive to educate. Keep it going.)
Few more pictures below of #BraveBrinn… a child too young to explain that her belly hurt, but who has a mom conscientious mom enough to get it checked out anyway.
Go hug your children tight.
**NOTE**: These 30 September #MollysKids stories highlight REAL kids in our community who battle. The stories are meant to be shared and educate about pediatric cancer, as they have every September since 2013. This year, I also encourage you to comment below with a message. Not to me. Please don’t write me. Write the family. Say something to the child. Maybe consider it like sending a handwritten card, only easier. The families will read your words. Promise. They don’t and won’t think you’re a stranger. For many of them, in fact, you’ll represent hope. You are support. Cancer can feel like an island – let them know you are present. The Good, the Bad and the Always Real. Right? Every post. Every day. Thank you.