Henleigh came in to the Gilmer's care when she was three months old due to physical abuse and neglect. She sustained a spiral fracture on her lower left arm and three broken ribs on her left side in addition to bruising on her jaw and body. Her brother was 18 months old at the time and came into the Gilmer's care also for neglect.
Henleigh started getting sick in November 2019. There were multiple trips to the pediatrician and the ER with different diagnoses. This continued until March of 2020. During this time her symptoms increased. She was just learning how to walk but was having difficulty managing the balance and taking multiple steps. She continued to get sick every morning and be inconsolable every evening. She then presented a new symptom which was leaning her head to the side. Her equilibrium was off because she had already started having hydrocephalus. On their final trip to the doctor, they scheduled a CT scan of Henleigh's head and discovered there was a large tumor setting on the back of her brain.
They were rushed to Brenners Children’s Hospital in Winston Salem. She had surgery the following day. They removed a 3 cm tumor from on top of her cerebellum. The diagnosis was a medulloblastoma.
Henleigh underwent low-dose and high-dose chemo therapy with stem cell rescue at Levine Children’s Hospital in Charlotte North Carolina. At the end of treatment there was no evidence of disease.
Three months later on her routine MRI it was discovered the tumor had returned and was almost as large as it was when we first started. In March 2021 she went through her second craniotomy. She began a chemotherapy protocol to help bridge time until they could find a clinical trial that would be beneficial to her. Her tumor returned 12 weeks into that protocol. The clinical trial that we were hoping for still was not open and was 1 to 2 months away. Because of the aggressive nature of Henleigh’s tumor a decision needed to be made about proton radiation therapy. Typically they like to wait as long as possible before exposing a child’s brain to radiation but this was going to be her only chance for survival. Henleigh underwent her third craniotomy in July 2021 in hopes of traveling to DC to have proton radiation therapy at children’s national.
Unfortunately they do not acceptNorth Carolina Medicaid which is what Henleigh has due to being an adopted child through foster care. The oncologist reached out to Emory hospital in Atlanta Georgia and also Jacksonville Florida who also has a proton radiation clinic, but these locations do not except NC Medicaid either. This Go Fund Me is to help with Henleigh's medical bills so she can get the best care possible.
Cholly Gilmer, Henleigh's adoptive dad, is also undergoing medical treatment as he is awaiting a kidney transplant.
Henleigh and her brother have been an answered prayer to the Gilmer's who have been wanting more children for a long time. You can imagine the devastation to have your prayer answered only to be faced with an obstacle like this.
Heather has been a long time servant for the city of Asheboro teaching children in the public school system.
Please pray, share, and give to this family if at all possible who has given Henleigh a second chance and a hope for a future.