The little girl was diagnosed with the brain tumor after a fall at a local park. She was taken for a scan due to fears of concussion when the cancerous tumor was found.
Children amaze us all the time. They are strong, resilient, and full of joy, something adults cherish deeply. When adults are confronted with seeing their children in helpless situations, like having a disease that could be potentially fatal, they do everything in their power to fix that. While cancer isn't something that a parent can cure by themselves, they sure can make the life of their child brighter.
A 7-year-old child in Eagle, Idaho has been battling cancer for the last four years, which is more than half her life, and she hopes to receive some encouragement from strangers. Zoe Ray has been battling a brain tumor and on September 3, it will be her 1,000th day of chemotherapy. It is a big milestone in the life of one so young and her mother, Chrissy Ray, wants to turn the day into a special event by reaching out to the community with a special request, per KTVB7.
The special request involves asking members of the community to send cards to Zoe. Her mother, who started a Facebook page to keep her family updated about the 7-year-old's progress, made the request there. "Zoe has received 486 cards so far from 26 states plus Canada!" shared Chrissy.
"They say they're thinking of me and they share stories of encouragement," Zoe, who is soon going to be a second grader, told Good Morning America (GMA). "It makes me really excited and happy and it gets me distracted opening the cards all day," she added. "I want to get cards from all 50 states and I want to get 1,000 cards by my 1,000th day of chemotherapy," she said.
The little girl, who is going to turn eight in September, has shown incredible strength ever since the tumor on her optic nerve was diagnosed right after her fourth birthday. The discovery was a chance event after she fell at a local park. Chrissy said that her daughter developed a concussion so she took her for a scan, during which the ping pong sized tumor was found. She has been undergoing chemotherapy since. It has shrunk the tumor and keeps it stable.
"The first three months, she was on a monthly chemo, and then a year of weekly IV chemo, and then we switched to an oral chemo," Zoe's mom said. "Even when she was on IV chemo she would go to kindergarten right after leaving the clinic."
The location of the tumor, which is on a nerve that connects the eye to the brain, makes it impossible to perform surgery on it. Zoe is already experiencing some vision loss despite the chemotherapy. She has gone through three different kinds of chemotherapy.
"Each of the chemotherapies is different, but all of them will decrease her energy, decrease her appetite and that in turn will cause some intermittent headaches and just kind of feeling blah or under the weather," said her doctor, Eugenia Chang, a pediatric hematology-oncology specialist at St. Luke's Medical Center in Boise. "It's like having a low-grade flu all of the time," she added.
It is likely that the little girl will have to undergo chemotherapy throughout her childhood. While chemotherapy is hard, her mother wanted her to think of the 1,000th day as a milestone towards getting better instead of as a struggle.
The cards have also improved Zoe's mood. "She says when she's distracted by reading the cards her head doesn't hurt and her stomach doesn't hurt," said Chrissy. "She'll stand by the door waiting for the mail and just shake with excitement."
Eugenia also noticed a difference in the 7-year-old since the cards have started coming. "I don't think people realize how much of a difference they can make in other people's lives," she said. "People think of cancer as something that either kills you or you treat it and it's done and sometimes it's harder to have these kinds that are there and need to be treated on and off for years," she added.
The doctor further added that gestures like these make a big difference to kids. She also praised her family for turning the 1,000th day into an achievement instead of seeing it as part of an unending treatment. "She got through this. She's a real fighter. She knows how to make something of her life even though there are obstacles in her way," said she.
You can send your card to cheer up Zoe Ray as well. Her address is: Zoe Ray of Sunshine, 1930 N Wind Cave Way, Eagle, Idaho 83616.