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‘She’s still fighting’: Oahu girl in NYC for more treatment of aggressive brain tumor

Published: Jul. 25, 2021 at 5:06 PM HST|Updated: Jul. 25, 2021 at 5:28 PM HST
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HONOLULU (HawaiiNewsNow) - About a year has passed since doctors found a brain tumor in Cheyleia Gomes.

The 10-year-old is now dealing with different physical challenges as both the disease and treatments progress, but one thing is certain: She’s not giving up.

“Thanks for all the love and support and donations,” Gomes said in a video call from New York City alongside her mom.

The family flew across country to get her treatment at Columbia University Medical Center in Manhattan. She’s now on her second clinical trial and the family says, if this one goes well, they could be there for the next two to three months.

“Overall, she’s still in good spirits. She’s still trying. She’s still singing, she’s still striving, she’s still fighting,” Cheyleia’s mother Rhianna Ramos said.

The tumor at the base of Cheyleia’s brain is a diffuse intrinsic pontine glioma, a condition known as DIPG.

Fighting it hasn’t been easy. Over time, the tumor and harsh treatment has challenged her ability to speak and eat, and she now needs a wheelchair to get around.

“Before it wasn’t as hard as it is now,” Ramos said. “It takes me and dad, and her grandmother to do stuff, to put her on the bed, to put her in the shower, to use the bathroom.”

Since her diagnosis in 2020, the Kahaluu family has felt an outpouring of love from the community. Thousands near and far have sent in donations to get her the treatment she needs; In total, close to $200,000.

“Hawaii has been amazing. Hawaii has had us 110% Since Cheyleia was diagnosed. And we’re so grateful and thankful,” Ramos said.

[If you’d like to donate, click here.]

Doctors said the initial outlook was grim, but the family remains dedicated to beating the disease.

“I don’t believe in weeks. I rebuke that. My daughter is going to be that miracle. She’s gonna push through this and I’m gonna make sure she does,” Ramos said. “DIPG is not going to run her life. If Cheyleia wants to go to the mall, if Cheyleia wants to do her nails, we’re gonna do her nails and we’re gonna take her to the mall.”

Ramos added, “Whatever I gotta do make sure my daughter is still here with us, I’m gonna do. If it takes me not to sleep, I’m not gonna sleep. I’m gonna make sure Cheyleia gets every treatment, everything possible to make her better.”

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