A West Des Moines family is trying to stay strong as their ten year old daughter fights cancer.
About 28,000 kids are living in the United States with the diagnosis of a brain tumor. Battling it can be a long journey with many ups and downs, and the community is helping one family fight it.
Playing cards is one of the Hyatt family's favorite games, but in life, ten year-old Niavh was dealt a tricky hand. Mom Heather Hyatt says, "She came home from school one day with a headache. It was beyond a normal headache really. She was sick and she had vision trouble, and it was very sudden."
She goes on to say, "When the MRI results came back and it was discovered that she did have a tumor deep inside her brain."
Doctors diagnosed Niavh with PNET cancer of the brain and spine three years ago. She spent months at the Mayo Clinic in Rochester, Minnesota undergoing an aggressive course of chemo and radiation. Nearly two years later, her parents thought she beat it. Dad Keith Hyatt says, "Just when you think you're going to be normal again, it comes back and hits you again. Cancer sucks."
The game plan changed. Doctors prescribed more chemo, but this time closer to home at Blank Children's Hospital. Heather says, "She's a trooper, she's a fighter and everybody's doing everything they can. She's going to school and she really enjoys school."
Her parents say the second time around is much harder. Keith says, “It's my own daughter and she's only ten years old. You just don't want it to happen to anybody and you don't want it to be your own kid for sure."
But, they're making it through as a family and with help from friends. Heather says, "Her school has been just amazing, people bringing us meals and gift cards and helping us out so much with basic things like groceries and gas.”
Friends at Western Hills Elementary school also made shirts with a drawing from Niavh. And, Clive cupcake shop Della Dolce Bakery is hosting a fundraiser to help the family. Heather says, "The little things they do just really help us give Niavh the best quality of life we can and just help us be there for her."
The cupcakes for a cause is Saturday, May 10. It's from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. at Della Dolce Bakery, 13435 University Avenue in Clive. Tinkerbell will be there from 1 p.m. to 3 p.m. $1 from every cupcake will go to the Hyatt family.