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The Heart of a Champion: How This Little Girl Fights Aggressive Cancer

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As 2015 dawned, Jillian Reed was a normal, seemingly healthy 10-year-old girl living with her parents in Anderson, Indiana. No one could have imagined how the next two months would change Jillian’s life and that of her loved ones. On February 11, 2015, Jillian went for an annual eye exam. She expressed having severe headaches and shoulder pain at the time. The eye doctor conducted a Retina exam and discovered that Jillian’s optic nerves were swollen. The eye doctor also believed the shoulder pain to be caused from excess fluid on the spine. The eye doctor referred the Reed family to seek additional tests, and, on February 12, Jillian was taken to Riley Children’s Hospital for examination. The results of the tests performed at Riley that day would change the course of the entire Reed family’s life.

An MRI indicated that Jillian was suffering from a brain tumor on the left rear section of her brain. The tumor measured 11 cm, or roughly the size of a fist. Doctors acted Jillian tubes 500hquickly to remove the tumor and begin pathology testing to determine the cause and course of treatment. Just two days later, on February 14, Jillian underwent extreme surgery for five hours to remove the tumor. Ten days later, the pathology results came back indicating that Jillian’s tumor is Glioblastoma Multiforme (GBM), one of the most aggressive and fatal forms of cancer known to science. Jillian’s cancer was immediately identified as grade 4, or “high-grade”, with a median prognosis of 2.5 years. Research indicates that only around 25 percent of children with GBM live past five years. This aggressive form of cancer affects only three percent of children and, unfortunately, there is currently no “cure” – only treatment options.

Following the diagnosis, Jillian and her family began the treatment process with chemotherapy and radiation. Chemotherapy, Temador, was prescribed in a median dose to start, with a short break for resting before starting a more significant dose. Jillian has done well throughout her therapy. However, as can be imagined, the treatment is taking a toll on her body. Jillian has lost much of her hair and now has large scars on her scalp. Her family has remained positive and encouraging to her and one another throughout this ordeal, though the expense and emotion has been significant. Jillian’s mother, Rheanna, father, Jeff, and her brother, Travis, who is 17, all stay by her side.

The Ronald McDonald House near Riley Children’s Hospital has become a temporary home while Jillian continues treatment. The Make-A-Wish Foundation recently granted Jillian’s wish to travel to Disney World in Orlando, Florida, and Jillian enjoyed visiting the ocean and making fabulous memories with her family. The community of Anderson, Indiana, where Jillian’s family lives, has also stepped out in support of the Reed family by holding fundraisers and awareness campaigns. Jillian’s family has established gofundme.com and facebook.com pages titled “Jillian’s Journey”, where they hope that the awareness and outreach will spur support for their family and others like them battling this tragic disease.

Jillian Hospital timeSizeJillian recently had a follow up MRI, which revealed “progression”, but doctors are unsure if it is swelling due to the treatment, or progression of the cancer itself. Another round of testing in three months will reveal the true results of the treatment so far, along with an idea of how to continue and an updated prognosis. Until that time, Jillian remains a strong, beautiful, and abundantly loved little girl that needs all the love, prayers, and support that her community can provide.

Jillian is a champion for awareness and support of those affected by GBM and other childhood cancers. She is a true hero and winner, and has the heart of a champion. “I wish I didn’t have cancer!” Jillian said. Because the chemo and radiation are so strong, they make Jillian very sick. “I don’t like taking all of my medicines, but I know I have to be strong to get better”. Jillian’s advice to other children similarly affected is, “Be strong. I know that with God’s help, I can do anything.”

Letters and donations are accepted at the family’s gofundme.com and facebook.com pages (Jillian’s Journey). 

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7 Comments - (Leave a comment! »)

  • Caitlyn said:

    Quality content is the keyy to interest the people tto pay a visit the website, that’s what this
    website is providing.

  • Joy – New Mexico said:

    I am touched by Jillian and all that is being done for Jillian, but I would have liked a closer view of her, the spirit of the community and her family. Members of her community could have been interviewed as well as the parents or friends of the family. I felt the article needed to be more personal, with less facts about her cancer, more facts about who she is, her personal trials and how she views life. This article felt like it was written from a distance, from information about Jillian but not a close-up personal interaction or interview.

  • Tina said:

    This is an incredible story of marching on in the face of extreme illness. I think the writer does a great job describing some of the details of what this individual has gone through.

  • Brianna – Ohio said:

    First I’d like to say that articles like these always strike an emotional chord with me because I have a daughter. When I read about families going through experiences like this, it really puts my life into perspective. The article itself was well written and drew me in enough that, when I finished the article, I was left wanting more. You left the reader wanting to do something to help, in some way. So I think it would be a good idea to provide links and information for specific foundations that would benefit from donations. Often times people who read articles like this one are busy, and might not have the time to do the research themselves. Providing links and donation information at the bottom of an article would help.

  • Ginni – North Carolina said:

    Jillian’s story was moving to say the least. I once had a neighbor that had a child battling a rare form of brain cancer. The child was “Tori” this was ten years ago. Like Jillian Tori was a fighter, she was born with this condition and her mother was told she would not survive more than four years. Jillian reminded me that the fight for life itself is far stronger than any medicine or treatment option out there. Her story revived a sense of vitality most of us take for granted daily.

    The story was well written and detailed, as a reader I felt as if I were standing in front of this little girl having her tell me “Be strong. I know that with God’s help, I can do anything.” That mere sentence coming from such a young child was so powerful, I had to question reality on a deeper level. I often wonder how those suffering the most are the ones the most grateful for everything in a world of materialistic over achievers that are grateful for nothing; Yet while those with almost nothing…appreciate everything.

    The story was uplifting and I am following her facebook page to keep updated with Jillian.

  • Rilind – Argentina said:

    When I was reading this article, I felt that I was being given the facts, but just that. I was given something to feel for but then was left without knowing what to do with that feeling.

    I think you have a good base from which to encourage your readers to also feel/think about things in a particular way. Not to tell them what to feel, but to guide their feeling in a particular direction. So for example, with Jillian’s article, the guide could have been how much help Foundations give to children such as her and how we can help out such foundations.

  • Elaine said:

    This is our granddaughter, she has positive thoughts, even through treatment. Love her BUNCHES!

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