Ten-year-old Lily Preston has been battling ependymoma brain cancer for two years. She has had three brain surgeries; the first in April 2008 only removed 40 percent of the tumor, so she had chemo for a few months and they were able to do a second surgery that removed all but a sliver. The neurosurgeon thought radiation would get rid of the rest; however, after 33 radiation treatments the tumor started growing again. She had the gamma knife procedure in April 2009 and more chemo. During this time, she once again lost her hair and even her eyelashes and eyebrows. And in August 2009, we heard the terrible words that it was back and there was no more hope … giving her six months.
Thank God we found a Dr. Boop at LeBonheur Children’s hospital in Memphis; he reviewed Lily’s scan and believed he could remove it. So on 9/09/09 at the age of 9, Lily had surgery again and Praise God, Dr. Boop got it all! However, due to the fact that one little cell left behind could start the tumor growing again, Dr. Boop referred Lily to St. Jude’s. She is currently undergoing a chemo clinical trial at St. Jude’s and praise God has had five stable MRIs.
She has suffered a lot and has some permanent radiation damage; complete hearing loss in her right ear and right-side facial and vocal cord paralysis. She had been fed by a feeding tube for over two years. The doctors tell us they didn’t cut this nerve — just damaged it — and we are hoping, praying and believing God that someday the paralysis will be healed and Lily will eat, drink, swallow and smile her beautiful smile again.