In the photo above, the year is 2011 and Moriah Richardson is grinning up at the camera with her beautiful brown eyes and round cheeks. She looks like a healthy, happy two-year-old.
Later that same day, she was diagnosed with Diffuse Intrinsic Pontine Glioma, or DIPG, an inoperable tumor on her brain stem.
The diagnosis of this cancer was stunning, and even worse was the prognosis: Moriah was given a 10 percent chance of living out the year.
She passed away in 2013, just two weeks before her fifth birthday.
DIPG is an illness that’s almost impossible to treat, with a typical prognosis of just nine months to one year.
Children afflicted with it may begin experiencing sluggish tendencies, vision irregularities and weakness in their arms or legs.
The tumors are in the area of the brain that affects the pons, controlling breathing, blood pressure and the heart rate.
Families undergo several treatments, medications and a tough prognosis. Children that were once bright-eyed and excited about life, become tired, sluggish and in pain.
Parents often find themselves at a crossroads of whether to have ‘the talk’ with their child—a child that could be as young as two years old—about what exactly is going on with their health and its effect on their brain.
“I began noticing irregularities in photographs and was told by family members and doctors as well that Kristopher was only making funny faces,” said Kelia Quander, mother of four-year-old Kristopher who suffers from DIPG.
“When Kristopher began walking at one-year-old, I began to notice mood swings and I knew that something wasn’t right with his eye. After being told that Kristopher was doing just fine by several doctors, Kristopher was given an MRI.”
There are no yellow warning signs for childhood cancer. Once diagnosed, the lives of the entire family quickly come to a halt.
Ten percent of all childhood