4 central Indiana children battling same cancer; families ask for participation in walk to raise money and awareness

GREENFIELD, Ind. (WISH) — Four central Indiana children are fighting for their lives and they all live within an hour radius. Doctors have diagnosed them with the same form of cancer. Their families are asking for help. They want people to be part of a walk Saturday to raised money and awareness.

Photo of Addison Varns (Provided Photo)

It’s called DIPG, Diffuse Intrinsic Pontine Gliomas. It’s the part of the brain just above the back of the neck and connected to the spine. Most of the time doctors can’t operate. The survival rate is very low and there is no cure for this tumor. But it’s not stopping one Greenfield 5-year-old from living life to the fullest.

It’s a perfect day to practice t-ball in the backyard.

Brynnley Niederhaus is perfecting her swing, even with little vision in one eye, and aiming for the target.

The pre-schooler was diagnosed last May. She underwent six weeks of radiation. Now, she gets an MRI every other month, blood drawn every other week and chemotherapy.

Photo of Adalynn Jessen (Provided Photo)

“We’re coming up on a year and not many kids live very long, past two years,” Brynnley’s mother, Kristyn Niederhaus said.

Brynnley’s passion for life is written all over her face. Whether it’s learning to ride a bike without training wheels, swimming in the pool on vacation or sitting front row at Chicago Cubs game.

“Hope to us is everything,” Niederhaus said. “Hope to me is being able to see her walk down the aisle one day, graduate high school.”

Forty-five miles away in Franklin, Adalynn Jessen is the center of the Jessen family.

“You can see it in her eyes sometimes how sad she is,” Adalynn’s father, Zach Jessen said.

The 4-year-old was diagnosed last July. The Cure Starts Now, a nonprofit organization that helps fight childhood cancer, funded a clinical trial for Adalynn.

Photo of Riley Bennett. (Provided Photo)

Zach and Kate Jessen believe that kept their farm-loving girl alive through christmas. But in January, Adalynn was diagnosed with another form of rare cancer that spread to her spine and brain.

Now, she’s been put on hospice care.

“About 25 days ago, she looked pretty rough and said we had about eight to 10 days to be here and we’re on day 25,” Adalynn’s mother Kate Jessen said. “You give Addie a timeline line and she keeps beating it.”

Addison Varns,8, and 3-year-old Rylie Bennett are also asking for prayers.

“They’re like our new family and when it hits one of them it hits us all,” Jessen said.

There’s hope more days practicing t-ball will come. The sun may be out, but it’s the smile on Brynnley’s face that shines bright.

Saturday’s walk is scheduled from 9 a.m. until 12 p.m. at Blue Heron Park in Franklin. Participants will be able to register for the event on Saturday.

For more information and to register for Saturday’s walk, click here.


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