A pregnant 17-year-old Pennsylvania girl learned that she has as little as three months to live after doctors discovered a virtually incurable rare tumor at the base of her brain.
Dana Scatton is seven months pregnant with a baby girl. At first, she noticed that she had trouble swallowing. Next, her legs buckled as she walked to a bus.
Scatton thought that the baby might be compressing a nerve, but after undergoing a CAT scan learned that she had a rare tumor called DIPG—diffuse intrinsic pontine glioma.
Around 300 children are diagnosed with DIPG every year in the US. The tumor is usually discovered when the children are aged between 5 and 9, according to the Dana-Farber Boston Children’s Cancer and Blood Disorders Center.
The median survival age for children diagnosed with DIPG is less than a year, Global Genes reported, citing medical statistics. Less than 2 percent of children ages 6 to 10 survive the condition.
Scatton and her 21-year-old boyfriend Tyler Vercetti decided to call their baby girl Aries. Scatton’s treatment is complicated by the pregnancy.
The teenager’s mom and dad both took time off work to be with her. Scatton’s brother, JJ Gundry, started a GoFundMe page to raise money for medical expenses.
“Due to the aggressive nature of this particular type of tumor, we are in need of all the financial support we can get,” Gundry wrote. “Any amount can make a difference, but if you’re not in a position to donate, we ask that you please pray for Dana & baby Aries.”
The GoFundMe page raised more than $10,000 in one week.
Scatton told Daily Mail that the first thing she thought when she heard the diagnosis was, “Is my baby going to be okay?”
“We visited specialists yesterday at Penn University in Philadelphia to understand more about Dana’s situation,” Scatton’s brother wrote in an update on GoFundMe. “The prognosis was very difficult to swallow, but God was with us.”
“The OBGYN we met with confirmed Dana can start radiation treatment without any major impacts to her baby’s health, which was much needed given the info we received up until this point,” Scatton’s brother added.
The mom-to-be is scheduled to deliver her baby when she is 37 weeks pregnant, around the time her radiation treatment is completed. Despite the daunting prognosis, Scatton is remaining optimistic.
“I can’t do as much for myself anymore, like not being able to put my pants on without probably falling,” Scatton told Daily Mail. “I’m not going to go by what they say, I’m expecting a miracle.”
As the family visited medical professionals, Scatton showed “amazing strength, courage, and optimism,” her brother wrote.
“She is without a doubt, the strongest and bravest person I know!” Gundry wrote.