The Valdosta Daily Times
For an athletic fifth grader, it seemed odd when he began to feel completely out of energy. However, for Brody Shiver, this was the beginning of symptoms that led to his diagnosis of Anaplastic Medulloblastoma.
To assist the family with medical expenses, proceeds from Saturday’s Beta Alpha Psi “Honor Our Neighbor” 5K and Fun Run will be donated to the family.
Brody began experiencing a trend of frequent headaches that were believed to just be migraines at first. He soon began vomiting, which sent up red flags to his mother, Leslie Hart. After a visit to the emergency room resulted in a normal CT scan and only slightly abnormal blood work, some would have been relieved.
However, Leslie insisted on having Brody tested from head to toe due to cancer running in their family. Her older son, Cage, had suffered through Adrenalcortical Carcinoma, a cancer of the adrenal glands, as an infant. Sadly, testing at Archbold Medical Center in Thomasville led to Brody's diagnosis on April 30, 2013. They then made immediate plans to go to Scottish Rite in Atlanta for surgery.
“It's all been such a roller coaster,” says Leslie.
Anaplastic Medulloblastoma is a large cell embryonal tumor that is formed from poorly developed cells at a very early stage of a child's life. These tumors form in the lower base of the brain that controls balance, movement, and posture. These types of tumors are usually found in children under the age of 10, so Leslie was surprised by the diagnosis since Brody was already 10 years old.
After having the tumor removed on May 5, the family initially thought that was going to be the end of their journey, as was the case with Cage. However, they were informed that Brody would need to undergo an aggressive treatment regimen for the next few months, which includes chemotherapy and radiation. They were relieved to know that he would not need a permanent shunt, which is necessary in some cases to drain fluid from the brain to the abdomen.
While his treatment is fairly short in comparison to other childhood cancer treatments, it has no less of an effect on his life. Formerly a student of Dewar Elementary School, Brody is currently unable to attend due to his treatments and lowered immune system. Leslie says she's been blessed by people like Elizabeth Pitts, who will be helping Brody prepare to enter his next year of school.
The community has been overwhelming with their support of Brody and his family since his diagnosis. Leslie says that he receives gifts and cards from churches, organizations, and other community members.
“It's amazing to see complete strangers reach out to us,” says Leslie.
The 3rd annual Beta Alpha Psi “Honor Our Neighbor” 5K Race and 1 Mile Fun Run/Walk will be held on Saturday, Sept. 14 at McKey Park. The 5K race will begin at 8 a.m. while the fun run will begin at 9 a.m. Registration applications may be picked up at VSU's campus recreation or on the “Honor Our Neighbor 5K Race/1 Mile Fun Run/Walk” Facebook page.