Since then she has undergone three surgeries in which God has helped her through and through. Her story is an incredible one. Gracie's surgeries have been largely sucessful. Although the tumor has been removed she will undergo chemotherapy for a yet unknown number of months. Many costs have been incurred due to all the procedures and they continue to grow every day. The family has insurance, but it will not come close to covering all expenses.
Her father is Pastor Joel Calamaco Jr. of Iglesia Monte Horeb Ministries in Louisburg, North Carolina. Pastor Joel has been unable to work for months. He and his wife have been at the hospital every day since October. They drive from the family home in Louisburg to Duke Children's Hospital almost every day. They take turns staying at home with Gracie's four other siblings. They are separate most of the time. But they have to endure.
Now the family asks for your help. As the medical bills pile up, so do the everyday expenses like gas, clothes, and other such necessities. We urgently request donations.
This is not the life a 3 year old girl should experience. She should be playing with her sisters or watching cartoons, not feeling the cold touch of medical instruments. Please have compassion on her.
Gracie was born in December 2013.
In March 2014 she began having uncontrollable seizures. Worried, her parents took her to the hospital where they scanned her brain. Unfortunately, the scans showed an arachnoid cyst. This was a fluid filled sac in her brain, which caused developmental issues and triggered her seizures. It was cancerous. She needed to have emegency surgery at Duke Children's Hospital. The surgery was sucessful and chemotherapy was not needed. But doctors informed her parents, that every now and again she would have seizures. They would come and go, and it was best not to worry. For three years Gracie's parents helped her through her random seizures.
At 6 months, on a normal day, another one of Gracie's episodes began. Only this time was different. Her seizures were so strong that she could not catch a breath. Five minutes passed, and then ten. Her parents rushed her to the hospital. She began turning purple. By the time they drove up to the hospital twenty five minutes had passed. Upon passing the threshold of the Hospital door, Gracie took a breath. Her color had returned. She would make it. Gracie's sisters had been there, at the house when her seizures began, in the car as they drove to the hospital. They witnessed everything. This hurts Gracie's parents to this day.
The story does not end there. One day in October 2017 Gracie could not move her legs. Her parents became terrified of her stituation and immediately took her to the children's hospital to find a solution. They thought the cancer must have returned. And the doctor revealed horrible news. The cancer had indeed returned. After a scan, it was found that she had a mass in her head. It was 5cm by 5cm. But it was unknown whether it was malignant or benign. Surgery would be required to find out . This all happened on a Friday in early October.
Disheartened, her parents were told they had to wait until Monday for the surgery to even begin. Meanwhile she was interned at Duke Children's Hospital and placed in the ICU.
Gracie had surgery on October 9 to take out a piece of the cancerous growth and discover its properties. After a grueling wait the doctor informed her parents that the tumor was indeed malignant. During this time Gracie's body became weaker and weaker. On some days she threw up her food. She had a feeding tube installed a couple of days after her first surgery. Even with the more efficient nutrition method, Gracie was still weak and sometimes unresponsive. This was a difficult time for the family.
On November 14 the doctors would attempt to remove the tumor once and for all. They went in early in the morning. The surgery lasted several hours. When they finished they discovered something horrible. They failed to remove the tumor completely. The family had already gone through a lot in the waiting room. Now they would have to wait through another surgery. Hours passed before Gracie was resown. The surgery was successful. Gracie's brain was rid of the growth. However, this was not the end.
On November 22, the doctors installed a chemotherapy line in her head. They also installed a hypertonic saline line, which is a device that allows the brain to heal after a brain surgery.
Gracie will now undergo rehab and chemotherapy. After having been delayed twice by doctors, Gracie's Chemotherapy finally began. She will undergo chemotherapy for at least 70 weeks.
The family has gone through a lot in the past few months. Please help them.
It is difficult for a father and mother to see their child this way. It may be even worse for her sisters. Everyday they expect bad news. Pray with us, that they won't receive it.
Please go to our facebook for detailed daily updates: https://www.facebook.com/Pray4Grace/
Father - Joel Calamaco Jr.
Mother - Laura Calamaco
Christina - 14 years old
Mercedes - 11 Years old
Joey - 9 years old
Gracie - 3 year old
Joel III - 2 years old
Thank You and God Bless You
A family friend
Would you still like to help, but can't donate?
Go to our facebook page and leave a word of support for the family. And please share the link with anyone you can.
Also, like Gracie's facebook page for daily updates on her and the family's condition.
December 1 - The family has successfully put this first bit of funds to use in repairing the van that they use to commute to and from the hospital daily. Thank you for your contributions. Please continue to help this family.
December 5 - With the next round of funds, Gracie's father has purchased a special car seat for Gracie. Considering her condition, this will allow her to be very comfortable on the ride home this weekend.
December 5 - We are working on getting a running total of the amount due. While Medicaid will most likely cover a sizable chunk of the medical expenses, the family will also have to pay some expenses out of pocket. We are working on an estimate of this to provide to the donors. Suffice to say that $15,000 is a reasonable target for now.
December 12 - The family has purchased a space heater for the children's bedroom at home. https://imgur.com/a/oa6XW
The family has also given thought to purchasing a new van. Their current van is a 2000 Dodge Caravan with almost 300,000 miles. The van has had more work put into it than the value of the van itself! Additionally, neither the A/C nor the heater work. https://imgur.com/a/FkKwg
December 19 - The family sucessfully put the donations to use in purchasing a new van. They bought a 2004 Honda Odyssey.
Gracie and her Father
Gracie after her November 14th SurgeryGracie's Prayer Wall
Gracie before her surgery
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