In just a few short weeks, 9-year-old Ciara Brills’ life has changed dramatically. First, it started with headaches that painkillers couldn’t relieve. Then, on Christmas, her family noticed she had a lazy eye. The following day, doctors diagnosed her with a malignant brain tumor.
Brills, of Portsmouth, New Hampshire, has a diffuse intrinsic pontine glioma (DIPG), a type of tumor found almost exclusively in children, Fox 25 reported. DIPG tumors are notoriously aggressive, difficult to treat, and, due to their placement on the brain stem, affect breathing, blood pressure and heart rate.
While their daughter’s life may soon be cut short, the Brills family plans to make what could be Ciara’s final days as fun and pleasant as possible by creating a bucket list for her.
"I want to show her the world, as much as we can," Ciara’s father, Harold Brills, told Fox 25.
Family friends have started a GoFundMe page to help the family cover bucket list expenses, as well as medical expenses and missed work. As of Friday, they had raised over $52,800 of their $100,000 goal.
Brills went home from the hospital on New Year’s Eve. On Friday, the family updated their Facebook page to share that Ciara is to start radiation as soon as possible, likely next week, as recommended by doctors at the Dana-Farber Cancer Institute.
In 2015, Mount St. Joseph basketball player Lauren Hill died more than a year after she was diagnosed with DIPG. Before her death, she advocated for research and treatment of DIPG and her efforts raised more than $1.4 million.