Two local toddlers share a rare connection through brain cancer
LYNCHBURG, Va. (WSET) -- A twist of fate brought two families together in a time of heartache and hope.
By the looks of it, it's hard to say who's taking care of whom when two-year-old Anna checks her family's vitals with her toy stethoscope.
The journey first began when the local toddler started to experience headaches.
"Anytime I would lie her down, she would scream and grab her head," said Samantha Wilson, Anna's mother.
Along with the headaches, Anna then began to experience vomiting. After several tests, her parents received some difficult news.
"We found a problem in the CAT scan. We can't see it super clearly, because of the kind of scan it was, but there's definitely swelling in the brain," Samantha said.
Anna was diagnosed with a rare form of brain caner and had her first surgery.
"It was, okay, let's do this, lets take care of her, you know, you just buckle down and focus on one foot in front of the other. You don't think long term, you don't think next week," Samantha said in response to the change of events.
Unfortunately, the family faced another hurdle on their way back from the hospital visit.
"We were in a four car pile up, and they totaled my van," Samantha recalled.
The incident only added to the bills that were already piling up. But then, the Wilsons learned of another local family that was going through the same thing.
Rochelle Osburn's 20-month old daughter Kylie has the same rare form of brain cancer as Anna. As it turns out, reports show that only 200 cases of endoplasmin epindomoma are diagnosed in children in the United States each year.
"[Samantha] eventually told me her daughter also had endoplasmin epindomoma, and her tumor was in the exact same spot," Rochelle mentioned.
Kylie's last scan came back clear, but both families are walking through it together.
To their mothers, this connection was not a mere coincidence.
"God puts people in your life for a reason," Rochelle said.
"I'm so glad God let our paths cross. I wish it had been under very different circumstances," Samantha said.
The Wilson's have chosen to continue Anna's radiation treatment at St. Jude's Hospital in Memphis, where Kylie has also been treated. The family is making their journey to the hospital on December 2, where the toddlers will finally meet.
The future for the toddlers is looking very bright.