OCEANSIDE, Calif. -- A young girl from Oceanside is about to begin the fight of her life for the second time.
Two years ago, 10-year-old Paisley Kavanaugh underwent surgery to remove a massive brain tumor that came back.
Paisley says she is sharing her story to bring awareness to the rare condition before she embarks on another surgery – only this time, she will be part of a proton radiation study at St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital.
The type of brain tumor, Craniopharyngioma, is very rare. There are only about a hundred cases a year.
By all accounts, Paisley seems like every other little girl as she teaches her dog some tricks, and she is -- except that the massive brain tumor has forced her to become a lot stronger.
“I remember when I collapsed. It was kind of shocking and I got pretty scared,” she said. “Next thing I know, I’m in the hospital.”
Doctors discovered the golf ball-sized brain tumor sitting on her pituitary gland a year and a half ago after several episodes of debilitating headaches.
"That was just like hammers and knives and anything you can imagine that was horrible, times...millions." she said.
Paisley was diagnosed and immediately underwent surgery.
“It wasn’t until she got transported to Children’s Hospital that we found out it was indeed Craniopharyngioma,” her mother Kalyn said.
They were elated with the success, only to find out the side effects have left her pituitary system in almost total failure, and now, that the tumor has returned.
In the meantime, she is just trying to cope as best she can.
“My friend just gave me...a card. It says, ‘be bold and brave in your heart.’ I kind of say that saying almost every day and I just be brave," she said.
The family will leave for St. Jude's in Tennessee in the next two weeks. The procedure could take up to two months.
To learn more about Paisley’s story or to make a donation, visit the family’s YouCaring page.