Children's Health

'Star Wars' superfan battling brain tumor gets surprise visit ahead of crucial scan

Brodie Pursch was diagnosed with a brain tumor in 2016.

Brodie Pursch was diagnosed with a brain tumor in 2016.  (Brodie's Medical Fund by Lindsey Coleman - GoFundMe)

A 6-year-old “Star Wars” superfan got the surprise of a lifetime on Monday, when a few of his favorite heroes dropped in for a visit while he prepared for a brain scan. Brodie Pursch, who just completed 63 weeks of chemotherapy for a brain tumor, made sure to verify that the storm trooper, imperial gunner and shoretrooper who showed up at MD Anderson Children’s Cancer Hospital in Houston were the “real deal.”  

“Brodie informed me that these were NOT the pretend characters, but in fact the real guys from the Death Star,” the Pursch family shared on the Battle for Brodie Facebook page. “What can I say? It was a big MRI day and instead of anxiety our little boy was having a blast. Thank you 501st Legion.”

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Brodie has been receiving treatment at MD Anderson since 2016, with doctors performing surgery to remove the pilocytic astrocytoma brain tumor that was threatening his vision and endocrine system. According to a GoFundMe page set up on the Pursch family’s behalf, they could not remove the entire tumor because of where it was located, and it began to regrow. He underwent eight rounds of chemotherapy and had to relearn how to walk.

On Monday, Brodie was scheduled to undergo an end-of-treatment MRI to see whether the tumor had shrunk. The family was anxiously awaiting the results to learn if Brodie would have the chance to ring the “chemo bell” that signals the end-of-treatment for patients.

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“Two weeks ago Brodie had his last chemotherapy infusion for this treatment plan,” a post on the Battle for Brodie Facebook page said. “May the tumor be dead or gone. Our little boy wants to ring that bell!”

At one point, a photo of Brodie wearing a Star Wars made its way onto his support page and was seen by a friend whose husband is a member of the Star Wars fan group, the 501st Legion, ABC News reported. Group member Karl Gehrig recruited two other friends to help surprise Brodie on his big day.

“I can’t imagine what it’s like to go through what those kids are going through,” Gehring told ABC News. “If we can take them out of that situation and give them an opportunity to be something else for a short period of time, it’s a wonderful gift.”

MD Anderson shared photos of the surprise on their Facebook page.