Reese was a beautiful 7-year-old. At the early age of 16 months, Reese was a victim of severe child abuse. Her sight, ability to walk and talk was taken from her. Reese came into our lives to be loved and we adopted her as our own. She deserved to be happy and loved and that was easy to do. She was so amazing, strong and beautiful.
Reese was in therapy with Cincinnati Children’s Hospital where she was learning how to feed herself and walk with a very tiny walker. Due to her trauma, she required a shunt to be place to allow for increased pressure on the brain to be minimized. At the age of 3 we noticed she was holding her head a lot and her gait was a bit off. After further testing our worst fears came to life. Reese was now diagnosed with DIPG (Diffused Intrinsic Pontine Glioma) a severe and very aggressive brain tumor located in the brainstem. After biopsy it was determined Reese had Glioblastoma stage IV. Her prognosis was merely 9-12 months, if we were lucky. As our world collapsed, we began to fight this journey both with her and for her. She endured 30 sessions of radiation. This consisted of Monday–Friday and being put under sedation everyday due to inability to follow simple commands from all the previous brain trauma. At the end of radiation, we were lucky to have the tumor shrink by almost 50%. Reese remained in this place for almost 2 years.
At the end of 2021 it was discovered she had a questionable new area forming; however, it took about 6 months for this area to present as a second tumor that was located in the cerebellum, just behind the original tumor. All of 2022 this tumor remained stable, however it caused her a lot of pain and discomfort along the way. Reese was amazingly strong and will forever be a fighter. I believe it's just in her to fight. At Easter of 2023, we had to take Reese to the ER due to her being in so much pain. With the help of Starshine Hospice we managed to get her symptoms under control so she could remain at home. In April it was time for her scan. On this scan it was determined Reese had yet another tumor. This tumor was already measuring as big as the two previous tumors and was located just next to the 3rd ventricle and alongside her shunt, this could be very problematic for her. If this tumor were to occlude her ventricle or the shunt it would mean a very fast passing. Because of the location of her most recent tumor our team wanted to scan her spine. It was then determined she had 3 additional tumors located at T10, T12 and L1. The week before Memorial Day Reese had a rapid decline. Literally overnight she lost her abilities and was extremely uncomfortable. We had hospice in to evaluate and was given some of the hardest news. It was time to make Reese comfortable and potentially let her transition to heaven. We loved her enough to know she no longer deserved to suffer so we started comfort care meds at home and stayed with her until she won her battle and gained her Angel wings on 5/29/23 at 6:10 am. Exactly 4 years to the day of diagnosis.
Reese is and was a true hero and fighter. I have never seen so many obstacles thrown at one lil amazing girl. She will forever be missed and we will forever have a hole in our hearts.
"TCSN is most important to us simply because without you we will never have change. We need a cure. Our babies do not deserve to go through any of this. And I feel like I need to honor Reese by not stopping the fight. We donated her brain and spine in addition. I don’t want Reese forgotten so the best way I can think of is to raise money for research while keeping her memory alive and in the forefront." - Chrystie Blankenship
Thank you for choosing to donate to The Cure Starts Now Foundation. 100% of this donation, after credit card processing fees, goes directly towards research to find the homerun cure for cancer starting with pediatric brain cancer research.
If you would like to make a donation by mail please send a check to: The Cure Starts Now Foundation; 10280 Chester Road; Cincinnati, OH 45215 and put the child's name in the memo.
The family receives notification of all donations made to this tribute fund automatically.