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Keeping the Faith




Submitted by:
Stephanie Blackwell

Since Anna was little she would always raise money for those in need whether it was stuffed animals for a Fire Station or Donations to St Jude. Little did she know that one day she would need someone to do this for her. She had a ruptured appendix at the age of 11 and never truly healed from it – or that is what we thought. 20 doctors in 10 months yielded no results. When your child is sick and you have no answers you tend to be hyper sensitive to every cough, sneeze, headache. With Anna she had chronic issues – chronic headache, chronic weakness but it was never severe enough for a doctor to order an MRI. That all changed when one day she knocked over nickels at an arcade. Those nickels should have been seen yet she couldn’t see them. That led to a new doctor, a new optometrist and a new test for her. Within 3 hours of the MRI I was called to come in for the results – I knew what it meant although I was hoping it was not what my head was telling me. We were told Anna had a brain tumor and that a surgeon has agreed to see her. We were given a choice – surgery or watch/wait. We chose surgery and in 2 weeks she had a 6 hour surgery.
Anna was never fearful of the surgery or at least didn’t express this to us – she was ready to move forward. Surgery removed 90% but it resulted in permanent right side field vision loss, right side weakness and some cognition issues. I think the hardest part in all of this is that many didn’t understand or even if they did it was a scary term to which most people seem to avoid talking about. We call it the Mic Drop – where you say you have a brain tumor and the world goes silent. Anna has spent the last 3 years raising awareness so no one has to go through what she did and raising funds so we can find a cure to beat this deadly disease. She is my warrior, my inspiration, my reason I find hope in this new journey we are on and I couldn’t be more proud than to stand by her side supporting her.