Riley Gillam was a healthy, happy 3-year-old. Then, one day, out of the blue, she developed an unusual headache. Her parents took her in to see the doctor, who ordered a CT scan. That is when Riley’s family learned that a mass had been forming in Riley’s brain.
Two days later, Riley underwent brain surgery. Her family feared the risk of complications and deficits that might result from the operation. The doctors learned that Riley had a rare and aggressive form of cancer, one that affects only about three people in every million, and it was rapidly increasing in size. Chemotherapy and other long-term treatments began immediately.
Since that time, Riley has endured several surgeries and horrible side effects including fevers and vomiting, rashes and infections and loss of hair, bowel control, balance and coordination. Her parents struggled to balance their jobs, care for their other 1-year-old child and time at the hospital with Riley. At least one parent was with her each night during the 27 days she was in the hospital.
The family will now be moving to Houston, Tex., so that Riley can receive special radiation care at MD Anderson Hospital.
To help Riley’s family meet their daughter’s ongoing treatment costs, a golf tournament will be held for her benefit on Saturday, Sept. 10 at Dove Valley Ranch Golf Club in Cave Creek.
The fundraiser will include prizes, entertainment and dinner following the afternoon golf tournament. Those who do not wish to participate in the golf tournament are welcome to attend the dinner portion of the event at a cost of $30.
For details about the event and how to participate, call 480-600-8248 or email firstname.lastname@example.org. — Sadie Smeck