Dear Friends and Family,
Mike and Heather Gehringer recently found out that their precious Gia Joy (16 months old) was diagnosed with a very rare form of cancer.
Over the last month and a half Gia had not been feeling well. My sister and her husband saw several doctors as they tried to figure out what was wrong with their daughter. They identified a non serious "cyst" above her tailbone, but said her severe constipation was the real problem. All the treatments for this did nothing to help alleviate her discomfort. On Dec. 18th, in a desperate attempt to bring her relief, Heather and Mike drove down to the emergency room at Children's Hospital L.A. The doctors there confirmed Gia was just constipated and were adamant the cyst was unrelated. No tests were done, and they were sent home with more laxatives. However, nothing was working and Gia's condition only worsened.
Finally on Dec. 30th, the situation was so bad they had to take Gia to the emergency room in Bishop. Right away, the doctors decided Heather and Gia needed to be air lifted from Bishop, CA and flown back to Children's Hospital Los Angeles. This time they bypassed the ER and were immediately met by a team of specialists. They did several tests and found the "cyst" to actually be a large, rapidly growing tumor at the base of her spine. The doctors have called this a saccrococcygeal teratoma and yolk sac tumor. The tumor's location is also impacting and partially obstructing portions of her bladder, colon, etc. No wonder poor little Gia couldn't go to the bathroom, had stopped walking, and cried all the time.
The doctors started her on chemotherapy right away. The plan is for her to have 4 rounds of chemo throughout the next several months to hopefully shrink the tumor before they attempt surgery. Even though this type of tumor affects less than 100 people in the United States, the doctors are optimistic about her prognosis. They said the cancer is highly treatable and responds well to chemotherapy.
However, this life changing news means that Heather and Mike will have to leave Bishop and live at the Ronald McDonald House next to Children's Hospital while Gia goes through the chemo and surgery. At this point, we don't know the amount of time this will take or how long they will be gone.
Despite the news, our families are praying and believing that God will heal and restore Gia to perfect health. Thank you to everyone who is lifting this little girl up in prayer! Heather and Mike are truly touched by the outpouring of love, prayers, and support from everyone. Many of you have asked how to financially help their family, so this fundraising page has been started to help them with the huge medical expenses they will be facing. I know every gift blesses them beyond measure!
Above all, please continue to pray for little Gia's healing. God Bless each of you for loving and supporting my sister and her family through this difficult time. We could never thank you enough.
Heidi (Lehwald) Stabb
There is also an account started in Gia Gehringer's name at the Bank of America in Bishop, CA for anyone who would like to donate there instead.
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