About Riley's Tumornators - Fight like a Kid
In 2017 Riley Robinson was diagnose with a form of Pediatric Brain Cancer called Medulloblastoma. Medulloblastoma is the most common form of pediatric brain cancer, and it accounts for about 20 percent of all childhood brain tumors. Riley was oftentimes complaining about headaches, so we took her to Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia to get a MRI of her brain. Within 45 minutes we received the shock of our lives. Our little girl had a tumor and needed emergency surgery. Riley’s tumor was cancerous, and her treatment plan consisted of 6 weeks of radiation to her brain and spine followed by 5-7 cycles of chemotherapy. Due to the location of the tumor, Riley had to also endure 6 weeks of intense Rehabilitation due to the weakness on her right side. As parents raising a five-year-old daughter this was an emotional experience for us. There were many weekly doctors’ appointments, followed by routine MRI’s, Cats scans, spinal taps, and countless visits to different specialist. We struggle with different obstacles from learning the medical terminology, which health choices were the best for Riley and learning how to be the best advocate for our daughter. To see our child fight for her life was a hard pill to swallow, but she was strong and determined to push through and not give up. Throughout it all she never complained and always had a smile on her face.
Riley’s cancer was in remission for 2 years but in May of 2019 a routine MRI showed that a tumor had returned. This time around Riley had no symptoms. She didn’t complain of headaches nor was she unbalance so we were shocked by the news. She underwent another surgery to remove the tumor from her brain. Again, after the second surgery Riley bounced back and we were certain that this would be a thing in the past but in 2020 another routine MRI showed that the tumor had come back again. This news was devasting for us because we had thought that we removed the tumor, but it was too aggressive. While dealing with this blow that the cancer had come back, we were also dealing with the Pandemic that had recently occurred. Our support system was very strong but due to the pandemic, we weren’t allowed any visitors. This made it a tough battle for us because we were used to visitors coming to see her in the hospital, art and music therapy to cheer her up and interaction with other kids in the playroom at the hospital. Everything was restricted and we felt very alone the third time around. Through it all we continued to pray and trust in the Lord because we knew he had the final word. Riley battled cancer for three years and on May 25,2020 she danced her way into heaven.
Riley was a smart, kind, and caring person. She left her mark wherever she went. Her life was like a butterfly. She had the ability to make people’s lives around her better. She exemplified hope and encouraged those around her to be brave and strong and never to complain. Riley’s legacy through Riley’s Tumornators will forever live in the hearts, minds, and souls of the children and families who have met her and are able to receive our support.