A family friend from Michigan referred Rati and her family to the Jessie Rees Foundation. Ever since, Jessie’s JoyJars filled to the brim with fun things inside have given relief and companionship to 14 year old Rati.
Rati was diagnosed with medulloblastoma this year, a type of brain tumor that starts in the cerebellum, which controls balance and other complex motor and cognitive functions.
The constant poking of needles, intrusive tests, 30 full days of cranio-spinal radiation and all that came with Rati’s diagnosis became just a little bearable once her JoyJars started arriving. She is always looking forward to the next item in that comes in the mail! Looking forward to something is so crucial during the Chemotherapy phase. Rati’s mom said, “Looking forward to something is so crucial during the Chemotherapy phase.. Words are not enough for me to explain our gratitude to you and the rest of your team. Cancer may have our 2018 but Rati will return home in 2019 so that we may live the rest of our lives, the way we always envisioned, with Rati at the center.”
Here is Rati’s story in her own words…
“Hello, my name is Rati, and I am 14 years old and a Sophomore in high school. A family friend is helping me write my story here for you to know more about me and my situation.
Until recently I was having a normal healthy life; having close friends, getting good grades in high school, horseback riding and spending time with family and my dog Bella. I only had to worry about grades and normal teenage girl stuff.
Suddenly, I was sick one day in May. Vomiting for no reason, just like food poisoning or the flu. But my doctor discovered that was related to a cancerous brain tumor, the size of a tangerine in my brain. It had been hidden and growing in there without any warning.
Within hours of visiting my doctor I was having that tumor surgically removed, but it was not all reached. I had to undergo a second surgery to completely clean up. I hope it is my last. It’s a very tiring and scary experience. I think my parents are more scared for me than I am.
I did not realize what it means to recover from surgeries on your brain. I thought I would be better as soon as the surgeries were over and I could go back home to Bella and see my friends again. But that’s not the way it went, I have returned only once for a short cool-off period after many weeks of Radiation, Physical therapy, daily bloodwork etc and have just returned to live at the hospital, for the start of months of Chemotherapy.
I had to leave my dog and my friends to live at this hospital. My parents had to move to be near me. I miss Bella and my friends, but I’m also very glad to not be alone here. I have my Mom and my Dad with me every day.
They tell me that I will be having treatment for the remainder of 2018 and into 2019. I will likely miss my sophomore year of school, but my friends are texting me all the time and keeping close.
I see some other kids here in the hospital with severe cancer, so I feel really lucky that mine has not spread to my spinal cord – that would have been much worse for me. My doctor and my Dad somehow knew it wasn’t just a flu and that I needed help right away. It’s not easy to feel grateful when you are having this experience, but I see how thankful my parents are now that I am in treatment.
Friends of my parents keep asking how they can help and asked us to create this funding page because they somehow know more about years of upcoming medical bills. They tell me that because of radiation and Chemotherapy treatment, there will be more medical issues later when I want to get married and be a mom and that it will be difficult then too.
I don’t like to think about a long future of this disease and long treatments, but if it helps my parents be able to be here with me, I am grateful for any help our friends will provide. Thank you friends for reading about me and helping my family. Thank you for your cards, calls and prayers for us.
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