My sweet 23-year-old niece was full of joy, happiness, and love. One Sunday morning, while singing and playing music at church, she fell over with a seizure. She had never had any medical issues prior to this day. She was rushed to the local hospital; they did a CT scan and found a tumor on the front part of her brain. Our family was advised that Miranda must be taken to a more advanced university hospital for further evaluation.

After getting to WVU hospital, we were told she had a brain tumor and must have surgery ASAP. She had an eight-hour surgery, and as we were waiting for results, our biggest fears came true. She had a grade 3 anaplastic astrocytoma. They told us that they thought they got most of the tumor, but with a tumor like this, it could grow back in one day, one month, one year, ten years, or never. So they scheduled Miranda for chemo and radiation.

Chemo was terrible. She had many side effects and allergic reactions to the meds. Radiation was the same. It caused necrosis and lots of swelling, which lead to more surgeries. She was put on so many meds, and no one seemed to be able to answer our questions.

Frustrated, one day I decided to search online. We needed help, and we needed answers. That is when I found the Brain Tumor Network. My call was answered by the most caring and understanding person ever, Cathy French. She knew exactly my thoughts, my worries, and my concerns. She was truly an answer to our prayers. She gave me questions to ask, suggestions, and ideas. She also prepared me for what to expect in the future but told me never to lose hope.

After a three-year battle, Miranda lost her fight and passed away in October 2017 at the age of 26. The Brain Tumor Network gave us such good advice and enabled us to get answers and help when the doctors and hospitals seemed to push us away. We know we didn’t give up, and we did everything we could to help my sweet niece.

My family is blessed to have had 26 years with such an amazing person. We know she is happy and peaceful in heaven with what she worked for her whole life, and that’s praising her Lord. We miss her every day, but she taught us so much in her short life. Be strong, be brave, and never lose hope.