Fundraiser to support 4 year old Riley Gillam as she battles cancer. All donations will help with medical expenses not covered by insurance.
Everything happened so suddenly. What seemed like an unexplained and unusual headache took Riley Gillam to the doctor who ordered a CT-Scan as precautionary step. In a moment Neil and Jessie Gillam's world changed...a mass was found. Brain surgery was just two days later and it was unknown what the doctors would find and what deficits would result from the surgery. Neurosurgery revealed a tumor and pathology results showed that the tumor was malignant. It was cancer. Their three year old healthy and happy princess had cancer. The cancer was described as extraordinarily rare, affecting only 3 in one million, aggressive and fast growing. Treatment was to start almost immediately and it would be extensive, 51 weeks of chemotherapy and radiation. There was no rewinding, there was no going back to last week, this was reality and Neil and Jessie had to put their “what ifs” and “whys” behind them and move forward with courage, strength, and knowledge, for their daughter.
As treatment began, new realities set in; there are ports placed in both her chest and brain, surgically, to administer Chemo directly to her blood stream and cerebral spinal fluid. The first weeks of Chemo took a toll on their seemingly healthy girl: vomiting, fevers, rashes, mucositis, bacterial and fungal infections, loss of her hair, bowel control, balance and coordination. A 27-day stay in the hospital. Juggling their other one year old child and their jobs, one of them stayed with Riley each night she was in the hospital. The next rounds of treatment where difficult. Normal seemed to be distant.
Treatment took the Gillams to Houston, Texas for a specific type of radiation at MD Anderson that decreased the risks and side effects associated with traditional radiation. This opportunity was a gift. It was very unlikely that she would qualify for Proton Beam Radiation, but with no new tumor growth and complete removal during surgery the stars aligned and they went. They were away from home for 9 weeks. Riley received proton treatment 5 days a week in conjunction with chemotherapy. She did amazingly well!
Currently, Riley is starting round 8 of chemotherapy. With delays in treatment she still has a ways to go, but she is doing excellent. She is a happy girl once again with a positive outlook and a fighting spirit that is inspiring to so many.
The Gillam family would like to thank each and every one for your generous donations and for becoming such an important part of Riley's journey to recovery.
If you would prefer to mail a check, you may do so to "Riley Gillam" and send to: Rim 2 Rim 4 Riley, c/o Tom Meeks, 2618 East Sylvia Street, Phoenix, AZ 85032.