I am Brycen’s younger sister Katlyn. I am 1 years old.
Hi, my name is Brycen Graham and my friend, Mrs. Andriette, is helping me write this letter. First, I want to say “thank you” for sponsoring my family for Christmas! Let me tell you a little about myself and my family. I am eight years old and I live in Loris, South Carolina. I live with my mother and my siblings. I have two brothers, Travis (19), Jacquees (2) and a sister, India (9). I am in 3rd grade at Loris Elementary School, but I have been on homebound since last spring. I attend Loris Presbyterian Church with my family and friends. I LOVE sports! Basketball, football and baseball are my favorites. I also love spending time outdoors doing things like riding bikes, swimming, and just playing around with my friends and siblings. My favorite color is blue. I like spending time with my older brother when he is home from college. He is a sophomore at Erskine College where he plays basketball.
Let me tell you a little about my cancer journey. Last spring I started to not feel very good. I missed a lot of school and went to the hospital several times. Finally, in May, a doctor in Charleston discovered I had a brain tumor. They immediately put me in the hospital at MUSC and I was very scared. I had brain surgery to remove the tumor a couple of days later. The surgeon was amazing and was able to remove the entire tumor! They told us my tumor was called a medulloblastoma and it was cancer. This news was very scary for me and my family. After my long stay in the hospital I was so excited to go home! I had to return to MUSC several times for a bunch of tests. The doctors met with me and my family to talk about what kind of treatment I needed. We felt very blessed the cancer did not show up any other places, but they did say the cancer was an “angry” type. This meant I was going to have to have more treatments than they originally thought. I was going to go to Jacksonville, Florida for Proton Radiation therapy for 6 weeks. Then I would have to have 6, 28 day cycles of chemotherapy at MUSC.
In July, my mother, grandmother, youngest brother and I moved into the Ronald McDonald House in Jacksonville. This is where we would stay for 6 weeks. We were all sad to be away from home, and from my sister and older brother, for this long. I received 1.5 hours of radiation on my brain and spine Monday – Friday for 4 weeks. I had to be completely still for 1.5 hours each day…but I did it! It was very hard, but I did not want to be put to sleep every day. The last two weeks were shorter treatments just to the area where my tumor had been. I also went for chemotherapy once a week. I had my last treatment on August 19th and I got to ring the bell to signify the end of my radiation treatment. I was so excited to be able to finally go home! Recently, I started my chemotherapy at MUSC. I will have to complete 6, 28 day cycles. I am currently on day 13 of my first 28 day cycle.
Just as any cancer diagnosis is hard on a family; it has been especially hard on mine. My mother is single, does not work and does not have a car. We have close friends that help me get to MUSC for my treatments and clinic appointments. Expenses of traveling and being away from home have been hard, but so far, doable thanks to friends and church family that have helped us. It is also hard on my mom to be away from my brother and sister.
Thank you, thank you, thank you for helping me and my family have a special Christmas during this difficult time!! God bless you.