HOMETOWN: HOLSTEIN, NE
DATE OF DIAGNOSIS: 2016
CURRENT STATUS: FIGHTING
In May of 2016 13-year-old lzabella Phoenix Eckhardt from Holstein, NE was diagnosed with a rare Pineoblastoma brain tumor. It was located in the center of her brain. It had prevented the spinal fluid from draining in her brain and her doctor noticed her eyes had started to bulge leading to her life-saving diagnosis. With her tumor growing from the size of a dime to the size of a quarter in the four days it took to get the biopsy back, it was urgent to do surgery. The 8 ½ hour surgery required the doctor to detach the tumor from the six major blood vessels that provide blood to the part of the brain that controls major organs. It was successful and she experienced only minimal side effects post-surgery. She also had stem cells removed to assist her treatment plan later if needed. Izabella then headed to San Diego for Proton Radiation Therapy of her brain and spine. It is a targeted therapy and decreased her risk of secondary cancer and damage to her other organs. Upon completion of the radiation treatment, Izabella returned to Omaha for the remainder of her chemotherapy. While her immune system recovered with the help of the stem cells, she stayed the course with her chemotherapy. Izabella was in remission for six years and had just graduated high school in May 2022 when she learned her cancer had returned. Currently, Izabella is in treatment and her medical team and family is desperately searching for a better treatment that will help her. Through it all Izabella has kept her rockstar attitude and is doing all she can to help raise awareness of the critical need for research funding so treatments can be developed to help other kids with brain cancer. Her goal is to be a positive influence on all childhood brain tumor fighters to fight as hard as she does every day.
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