By Isabel Torres
Co-Founder, Executive Director
Gabriella’s Smile Foundation
#MoreThan4 is a hashtag I frequently use and mostly during Childhood Cancer Awareness Month in September. I lost my daughter after seven and a half months of battling a terminal brain tumor, DIPG. Diffuse Intrinsic Pontine Glioma is what the doctors told my husband and me. “Don’t google it,” they said. I googled it. What I found would make any mother sick to her stomach. Dating back to 1962 when Neil Armstrong lost his two-and-a-half-year-old daughter to DIPG, there have been no real advancements in the treatment for this tumor.
We were given the option of radiation to shrink the tumor and hopefully get our daughter to a “honeymoon stage,” where all would be almost normal, but only until the monster tumor would start growing again. She also took an oral chemotherapy drug that is commonly given to adults with glioblastoma. Again, this would give us a few more months with our daughter, but the doctor assured us that she would not likely survive through the end of the year. That was in 2015.