Relay for Life puts a face on childhood cancer

By David Nordby The Brillion News

BRILLION – The annual Relay for Life event took place last Friday night at the Brillion Middle School, with a special guest highlighting this year’s event.

Ireland, who is in remission from a highly rare brain cancer, is one of hundreds of thousands of children in the United States who have suffered from cancer.

300,000 children are diagnosed with cancer each year. In the United States more children die of cancer than any other disease, and two thirds of the survivors suffer lasting effects.

“We wanted to put a face on childhood cancer,” Karen Loose, Ireland’s grandmother said.

Loose, speaking for her daughter, read a timeline of her daughter’s thoughts throughout Ireland’s fight with the monster.

Ireland was born in April 2011 and described by her mother as “happy-go-lucky” and “the best baby you’d want.”

At nine months old Ireland was walking and appeared healthy.

In February 2012 Ireland had multiple trips to the emergency room, where the doctors diagnosed bowel obstruction.

Ireland’s mother insisted that something was going on and she called the pediatrician. The pediatrician ordered a CTE scan.

The scan revealed a tumor, the size of Ireland’s mom’s fist, in her head. Unable to do anything locally, Ireland was sent to Milwaukee. A snowstorm in March forced an ambulance to come to their home in Manitowoc.

“The pressure was so great in her head that we were watching her die,” Ireland’s mother said.

Ireland’s cancer was the only one properly diagnosed or reported out of seven cases in the world.

The doctors in Milwaukee were able to create a tunnel in Ireland’s head to drain the pressure on her brain, which was also impacting the rest of her body including her heart rate.

“The potentially deadly tumor has introduced Ireland to the world of surgery and chemo at too early of an age,” Ireland’s mother said at the time. “It turned our world upside down.”

Please see the complete story in the June 23, 2016 edition of The Brillion News. 

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