There have been some positive developments in the life of a 3-year-old Modesto girl battling a rare pediatric cancerous brain tumor.
The Make-A-Wish Foundation is sending Emma Heidenberg and her family to the Aulani Disney resort in Hawaii.
Better yet, the intense chemotherapy she’s endured for the past three months is working.
The Bee first wrote about Emma in September during Childhood Cancer Awareness Month.
“We are finally getting some good news,” said Emma’s mother, Anya Heidenberg. “This last MRI after her 10 weeks of induction (showed) all six brain tumors are shrinking.”
Emma will continue chemotherapy for at least nine months, but for the first time is getting a two-week reprieve every other month. The family’s January trip to Hawaii is planned during one of those breaks.
Emma and her family learned on Christmas Eve that she had brain tumors caused by Type 1 Neurofibromatosis.
A biopsy determined that one of the tumors was cancerous. It wrapped around Emma’s optical nerve and continued through the center of her brain, causing blindness in her left eye.
It was threatening to do the same to the right eye, but the chemotherapy caused it to retreat 1 centimeter.
Emma has five other brain tumors along her brain stem, which makes them too dangerous to biopsy but by all indications are benign.
The hope is that continued chemotherapy will continue to shrink the cancerous tumor to the point that it can be surgically removed, Heidenberg said.
After the latest MRI, Heidenberg wrote in her blog, “What does this all mean? It means we are winning! It means we made the right choice, it means this suffering was all for something. It means there are rainbows ahead.”
She started the blog about a year ago along with a Facebook page, both titled “Through Emma’s Eye.” The intent was to update friends and family about Emma’s condition and provide a vehicle for childhood cancer awareness and education.
She also used her skills as a professional photographer to document Emma’s journey and to create a calendar with stylized pictures of her daughter in picturesque scenes to give to other “children cancer warriors.”
Heidenberg finished the calendar this month and is ready to print and distribute it.
The theme is “Cancer can be …” with a different adjective each month, such as “adventurous” or “ethereal.”
To order a calendar for a child or help Heidenberg pay for printing costs, visit www.throughemmaseye.weebly.com.