Preparations: Kenna-Rae Stockbruegger and her mother Michelle will be travelling to Boston for special treatments to shrink the tumour in her brain.

Citizens rally to help Kenna-Rae

Rare illness: Teen travels to Boston July 7 for radiation treatment.

Once again, the community has stepped up to help.

Michelle Stockbruegger is grateful for the support she and her 14-year-old daughter Kenna-Rae have received, after making their plight public.

Kenna-Rae has been diagnosed with a benign brain tumour, a rare craniopharyngioma. It is about seven centimetres across – about the size of a golf ball – and is sitting amongst her optic nerve, her pituitary gland, her brain stem and her hypothalamus.

“It’s big,” explained Michelle. “They want to get it from a golf ball size to a grape and then remove it.”

The complication is that doctors don’t want to damage Kenna-Rae’s brain by using standard radiation. Michelle was informed her daughter needs proton radiation, only available in the U.S.

Michelle and Kenna-Rae are leaving for Boston, Massachusetts on July 7. There Kenna-Rae will undergo two weeks of planning and prepping for the surgery, including creating a mask that will keep her perfectly still. Then there will be six weeks of radiation daily, Monday through Friday.

Although the B.C. health ministry will pay for the hospital care, Michelle and Kenna-Rae must stay in Boston until the end of August, away from 13-year-old son Cole, 11-year-old daughter Brooklyn and spouse, Todd, who works out of town.

They will need to pay for housing and food.

And here’s where the community has stepped up. Several events have raised enough money that Michelle feels confident she’ll be able to make it through the next eight weeks. Along with donations from individuals, the fundraisers have included one at the Hideaway Pub organized by Doug Revel, another by Brad Housden at No Frills, plus pizza and ice cream sales donated by Shuswap Middle School.

Says Michelle: “When you’re in a situation and you see it and it happens to you… You get overwhelmed, how much help there really is out there in a small town. It’s very humbling when you’re wearing those shoes of need.”


Salmon Arm Observer

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