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It is important to live day by day and to tell the people who you love, show them you love them, do not hold grudges, let the little things go, and realize how blessed you are if you have a healthy child.
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A TEAM OF INSPIRATION
With three teenage brothers, Anya Zvorsky, 6, can be a princess one moment, and a ninja warrior the next.
She has them wrapped around her little finger, I do not know if they even realize, said Anyas mom, Karen Zvorsky of New Cumberland.
Little sisters learn early on how to be charming and tough. And so maybe that is why Anya, a first-grader at Bible Baptist School in Shiremanstown, is holding her own while battling a rare brain cancer.
Anya is always happy, never in a bad mood. She is the most positive person I know, her mom said.
When Anya was 3, she had recurring headaches, but her doctor could not find anything wrong.
The pain persisted, so her mom started keeping a headache log, but still there were no red flags for months ? until Anya grabbed the back of her head and started screaming and crying. A CAT scan detected a mass, and she was prepped for immediate surgery.
From that day, we did not leave the [Penn State Milton S. Hershey] Medical Center for two weeks, Karen Zvorsky said. It turned out to be an ependymoma, one of the rarest brain tumors out there.
After surgery, there was chemotherapy.
Later at Childrens Hospital of Philadelphia, shortly after Anya turned 4, doctors found that her brain stem was pushed almost 90 degrees in the wrong direction from the tumor.
She should have had slurring of words, not been able to walk straight, and other neurological symptoms, and there is no explanation why she did not, Karen Zvorsky said.
Anya endured another surgery. This one took 24 hours.
Six-and-a-half weeks of radiation followed, along with regular MRIs.
Last September, she had an MRI scan. Her family was cautiously optimistic.
We had a year under our belts, which in cancer terms, can be significant, Karen Zvorsky said.
But a nodule popped up, so more chemotherapy was ordered.
Anyas kindergarten teacher, Sonya Butler, tried to help her students understand.
I told them that bad things happen, we do not know why, but God allows these things to happen to teach us things, Butler said.
On a post-chemo MRI, doctors saw that the tumor had grown, which meant another surgery for Anya in January. The good news is that they caught it early and it wasn?t attached to anything else.
Anyas kindergarten class spoke with her at the hospital via Skype and made her get-well cards.
Adara Burkholder, 6, created a little picture book for her best friend.
It has puppies and flowers, she said. I pray for her a lot, and I am sad when she is not here.
Anya is the most positive child that I have ever had in my room. For some reason, God has chosen Anya, and allowed her to be a blessing in so many lives, Butler said.
The small Christian school collected $1,000 for the Zvorskys at Christmas to help with travel expenses, and they raised another $1,000 for them with several hat days, where the elementary students donated at least $1 to wear a hat.
Karen Zvorsky is amazed by the thoughtfulness and generosity.
This has changed everybody, and it is doing so much for the school, she said.
It is important to live day by day, she said, and to tell the people who you love, show them you love them, do not hold grudges, let the little things go, and realize how blessed you are if you have a healthy child.
Anya underwent yet another surgery at CHOP the end of January 2013. Again, family, friends, and those that have never even met Anya, rallied around to support her in thoughts and prayers. And, Team BT continues to fight for awareness by raising funds for this horrible disease!
TEAM ANYA is back by many, but most importantly by TEAM INSPIRATION and their founder and Oncology Nurse, Roseann Dougherty. TEAM INSPIRATION is a nonprofit organization that was founded on the belief that the purpose in life is to help one another. Our mission is to empower cancer warriors in their healing process. TEAM INSPIRATION provides online and community-based resources to promote the healing process and foster a better quality of life for persons living with cancer. It is our belief that we should help and inspire one another in our life journey, especially when faced with challenging circumstances. www.teaminspiration.org
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