Brennan’s Buddies® © 2012
Rachel Gambrill is 8 years old and has lived her entire life with her loving Mom, Karen.
On February 1, 2011 Rachel lost her ability to talk and was rushed to Nemours Childrens Hospital in Wilmington Delaware. On February 2, 2011 she was underwent her first brain surgery. In true Rachel style she was up and out of the hospital in 3 days. On February 15, 2011, I was informed of the pathology - anaplastic ganglioglioma Grade III. A rare adult brain cancer, that is even rarer in children. We applied to various Proton Centers and were accepted by The University of Florida. All systems were a go, that is until I notice she was dropping words. She underwent the MRI test required for proton therapy. On March 2, 2011, I was informed that the tumor had grown back, double in size. Proton therapy was put on hold and her second operation was performed on March 10, 2011. Again, she was up and out of the hospital in 3 days. Pathology showed that it still remained a Grade III, so on 3/18/11 we left for Florida. Her case was placed on "rush" status. On 3/24/11, exactly 2 weeks after her 2nd surgery, I was informed that the tumor had once again grown back and as before, it had doubled in size. Proton was scratched and 15 treatments of whole head radiation were scheduled to start on 3/28/11. The doctors in Florida were not very optimistic, and stated that they did not feel she would make it home alive. Her steroids were increase immediately to 12 mg per day. On 3/28/11 Rachel started chemo and radiation. The only side effect she exhibited was the loss of her hair. On 4/18/11 we returned home to Delaware. Her follow up MRI on 5/18/11 showed that the tumor had shrunk considerably in size. All was good. she started back to school and then summer camp. Towards the end of July she woke up from a nap - double vision. I immediately increased her steroids, then called the hospital. July 25 - MRI. On the 26th I received a call from her oncologist, Dr. Walter ~ it wasn't good. The tumor had not only overtaken her parietal lobe but it had also moved into her front temporal lobe. Her 3rd surgery was scheduled for August 4, 2011 ~ it's main purpose was to "give her time". Rachel was/is dying.
Due to the love and concern of one of Rachel's friends and her family, Rachel was named Governor for the Day in Delaware on August 1, 2011. She officially signed a Proclamation, as Governor, making August 4, 2011, Rainbows for Rachel Day.
Starting at an early age, I taught Rachel the importance of giving give back to the community. Rachel rang the Salvation Bell on her birthday (December 18th) in 2010 and will ring it again this year on 12/13/11. We have both participated in the White Clay Creek Clean Up, Red Clay Creek Clean Up, Delaware Coastal Clean Up. Rachel has also enjoy participating with her friend Alex, a member of Jack & Jill of America, in a few community activities. She helped Jack & Jill along with Shoes to Share collect items for Haiti relief, and this past year she participated in Martin Luther King Day of Service at the Delaware Food Bank.
She audition for and became a member of the Wilmington Childrens Chorus in 2010, but was unable to return this year.
A true lover of art, she has taken both Clay Work and Painting and Drawing at the Art Studio for the past 3 years.
Her love for learning is due in part to the great education and support she has and continues to receive from Forest Oak Elementary School. Rachell has enjoyed summer camp at Brandywine Springs Boys and Girls Club Summer Program and participated in camp and classes at DCCA. One of her most admirable qualities is her love and respect for nature! Especially snakes and reptiles, so it's only natural that she enjoyed going to and attending functions at DuPont Environmental Center. Last year, she helped tag the monarch butterflies before they were released for migration!
From Rachel’s mom:
On Tuesday, February 1, 2011 I lost my daughter Rachel to cancer. On Tuesday, March 13, 2012 at 11:00 pm I walked her to meet Jesus. Rachel had told me that she viewed death as a long happy nap, a well deserved nap. She fought amazingly hard to the very end. I told her last night that as always, she was the best gift God could have ever given me and that she had given me a gift - she showed me the world and I asked her for thing - I placed her hand on my heart and told her that it was filled with love for her, now and forever, and that it was ok for her to go with Jesus, that I would be ok, that she would forever live in my heart.
I wish I could have met Rachel, she was a very special girl. Her mom helped me a lot when my grandson Brennan passed away in April.
share her story either here on face book or on her website at rainbowsforrachel.org. Her story continues to inspire others. So please, share it with others. It's all about creating awareness for Childhood Cancer. Encourage others to read about an amazing little girl and her fight against an extremely rare aggressive cancer. She has inspired many people, how many more can she inspire?