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Health Spotlight: Miracle baby born with a tumor

INDIANAPOLIS (WISH) — Brain tumors are the most common solid tumors in children. Approximately 4,000 children will be diagnosed with brain tumors each year.

The five-year survival rate in kids is 74%, but the younger the child, the chances of survival decrease, so what are the odds a child will survive when the brain tumor develops before birth?

News 8 shares the story of a brave mother and her miracle baby.

Watching her little girl swing and slide, climb and walk is all Emily Murray has dreamed of.

“I found out I was pregnant right before the pandemic,” Murray said.

A single woman who chose fertility treatments to start her dream of having a family until “it took the breath out of me,“ she said.

An ultrasound at 36 weeks showed a mass in the middle of baby Elizabeth’s brain.

Dr. Jennifre Stahle, St. Louis Children’s Hospital, said, “Elizabeth’s story is quite unique in that her tumor was found in utero, so, we detected it before she was even born.”

The age, size, and location of the tumor were extremely rare.

“A Teratoma is a type of tumor that contains multiple types of tissues. So, it can have hair and teeth, and tissues from all over,” Stahle said.

And it was extremely large.“Elizabeth’s tumor was about the size of a grapefruit,” she said.

Born with fluid on the brain, Elizabeth started having seizures.

“Before we were able to take out the tumor, we had to perform surgery to drain those cysts,” Stahle said.

Then when she was strong enough, another surgery to remove the tumor.

“I said, ‘Well, hold on. how much of the tumor did you get?’ and she said, ‘Oh, I think we got the whole thing,” Murray said.

Doctors believe the tumor may have caused right-side cerebral palsy.

“That side of her body has the most trouble with movement and muscle tone,” Stahle said.

Now, at two and a half, she’s making great strides, catching up cognitively with her peers, and the latest scans show, Elizabeth is tumor free – something her mom always dreamed of.

“It was scary, but it never felt impossible,” Murray said.

Elizabeth may always have weaker muscles on her right side, but it should not hold her back in any way. Doctors also have seen her brain mature and develop with time.

This story was created from a script aired on WISH-TV. Health Spotlight is presented by Community Health Network.