LEWISTOWN - Taylor Dickson, of Lewistown, seemed like any other 15-year-old until this past June when she went to the doctor because she was experiencing headaches.
At first, she was diagnosed with migraines and was prescribed medication. She then had neck and back pain and sought the help of a chiropractor. Then, on July 15, the cause of her discomfort was finally revealed when her mother, Diane Dickson, took her to the hospital.
"Taylor called me while I was at work indicating severe pain," Dickson said. "Leaving work, I took Taylor to (Geisinger-Lewistown Hospital) emergency room. A CT scan showed a mass and 20 minutes later we were headed to Geisinger-Medical Center in Danville," she said.
Diane Dickson said Taylor’s friends have been affected by Taylor’s diagnosis. Taylor (right) is pictured with one of her friends Mycheala Britt.
On July 17, Taylor had surgery to remove as much of the mass as possible. However, an MRI revealed more bad news.
"Unfortunately, the MRI of her spine showed (the mass was spreading) to her cerebral/spinal fluid. Due to complications of surgery she got hydrocdephalus (fluid in the brain) on July 20, which was a major setback," Dickson said.
Eventually, a biopsy determined a diagnosis of Oligoastrocytoma, a tumor that originates in the cells of the brain. The diagnosis shocked her family.
"It's devastating to know your child is sick and (there's) nothing you can do as a parent to 'fix' it. The statistics are not important. She will beat the beast," Dickson said.
After her diagnosis, Taylor underwent treatment.
"Taylor then had four other surgical procedures," Dickson said. "Taylor now takes chemotherapy daily and has radiation Monday through Friday. She has not been discharged from the hospital," Dickson said.
In response to Taylor's diagnosis, family friend's Amy Banks and Tara McCarl contacted the family about holding a benefit for the family, because Taylor's parents have both had to take off work without pay since Taylor fell ill.
"Amy Banks reached out to me regarding her and Tara McCarl wanting to do something to help us due to knowing we were off work without pay to care for Taylor and making medical decisions," Dickson said. "I cannot express my gratitude to everyone who has worked on this benefit. I know Tara and Amy have put a lot of time and energy into making it a great event. It is amazing to see all the support coming from this community for my baby girl."
The event, Tear it Up With Fitness For Taylor will be held from 9 a.m. to noon Saturday, Sept. 6, 2014, in the gym at Mifflin County High School. Tickets are $12 in advance and $15 at the door. To order tickets, email McVeytownFitCrew@hotmail.com.