Meet our young warriors

Meet Elena – Brain Tumor Warrior

“The NCCS’s financial assistance is very helpful to parents like us,” Abigail said. “Thank you again for helping us!”

The Aquino family will never forget the day that left them heartbroken and devastated. It was the day their daughter, Ellie, was diagnosed with a rare brain tumor. Her mom, Abigail, sensed something wasn’t quite right when her typical happy two-year-old started limping and not running around as much as she used to.

They visited an orthopedic surgeon but when x-rays showed nothing wrong structurally, they were quickly referred to a neurologist. Their worst nightmare became a reality when doctors found a tumor that was pushing on her brain and affecting her motor skills. “That is the day this rollercoaster began,” said Abigail. The doctors were stunned that Ellie’s only symptom was limping due to the tumor’s large size.  She was rushed into the operating room where Ellie underwent an eight hour brain surgery.

Doctors were able to remove the entire tumor but the surgery left Elena with weakness on her right side. She started chemo immediately after the surgery at home in Portland, OR followed by six weeks of radiation at a specialized treatment center in Seattle Abigail left her job to care for her daughter and Elena’s parents and 12 year-old brother moved to Seattle for the entire time due to the three-hour drive – each way – from their home

The NCCS was there to help Elena’s family when the expenses quickly mounted.  In addition to financial support for travel expenses and emergency assistance for other bills, Elena’s parents found the organization’s parent guide very helpful.

“The NCCS’s financial assistance is very helpful to parents like us,” Abigail said. “Thank you again for helping us!”