Melinda Shefsky Cassius is organizing this fundraiser.
From sports injury to brain surgery... sometimes in life, what we expect is not what we get. The hardest part is rolling along with the results and finding the blessing in a difficult situation. Inner and outer strength is a big part of Mandy Cassius, a true defender (9 years in soccer, 14 years in life). On the field, Mandy developed a reputation as "the wall". Girls twice her size would just bounce off of her as she defended her territory, keeping the ball from getting near her team's goal. She learned at an early age to manage through her pain, setting "personal bests" to achieve added success in soccer, dance, music, and academics. Her philosophy is to "never give up" and to take on life's challenges as a strategic game of tenacity, drive, will, and skill. Now Mandy is prepared to face her largest team challenge in this world...conquering Arnold Chiari Malformation by building her physical strength back up after a 15 hour brain surgery over 2 days with 4 surgeons at LeBonheur Hospital that began on Friday, December 15, 2017. This surgery was designed to decompress her brain by removing some cervical vertebrae, treating cerebellar herniation, and attaching a permanent metal rod to stabilize her head and neck. After this surgery and many months of rehab, Mandy will hopefully regain full capacity of swallowing, vocal chord usage, and leg strength. With her family and friends cheering her on, we know that Mandy will be able to persevere and bounce back to her levels of success and achievement that she sets for herself. Even though, post-surgery, she will not be allowed to play soccer again, her love for the game will remain in her heart. Soccer has truly been a gift in Mandy's life providing friendship, inspiration, triumph, team-building, leadership, goal setting, and follow-through. But surprisingly, soccer has been the blessing to lead us to a diagnosis and treatment of a serious, life-threatening condition. The money raised in this campaign will be used to pay for long-term medical expenses for Mandy's rehabilitation including: additional procedures, medications, physical therapy, occupational therapy, speech therapy, and to help others with this condition. Thank you in advance to family and friends for reaching out and providing support during this difficult journey. Dr. Klimo, Dr. Michael, Dr. Rangarajan, Dr. McLevy, Dr. Arnold, Kim Giles, nurses, techs, and hospital staff, are all our medical Angels! We were so fortunate to be a part of LeBonheur's quality care team. We love what you do for our children's lives and our community!!!