Local Teen with Brainstem Tumor Fights for Her Home

By: Elizabeth Prann Email
By: Elizabeth Prann Email

A young Panama City family needs your help.

The family of four fell on unexpected times shortly after a devastating diagnosis.

"[Amber's] tumor is the worst location you could ever have - in a brainstem," said Neil Howard whose teenage daughter has a brain tumor. "Out of all the pediatric tumors you could get there is only 1 in 4 percent chance [Amber] could have gotten a Glioma," her mother, Shawn said.

At the time doctors found an asymmetrical tumor resting on 12-year old Amber's brainstem. It's about the size of two sugar cubes.

Doctors went in last year but could only feasibly remove 25 percent without risking Amber's life but today 20 percent has already returned.

"You never dream it would happen to you. Now we are the people on TV," said Shawn.

To make times a little more tough the family has one more challenge to overcome, their mortgage payments.

"Since we started chemotherapy, only one of us has been able to work and that's Neil. We're at the point where we've been served with foreclosure papers. Here we are with a child that is sick and now we're in the midst of saying financially where do we go from here?" said Shawn.

The Howard family is fascinatingly optimistic, each one picking up the other when he or she is down.

"When she has a good day, that's when we charge our batteries!"

And if it's one thing none of them is lost is hope.

Amber is living proof.

"She said to me, God came to me mom. He told me, it's not my time. But I said, you can't remember Amber, you were asleep. She said no Mom, I remember! He came over, God came over and he talked to me, he said everything would be OK, it's just not my time," Shawn said.

Amber must be home-schooled because of her vulnerable immune system.

The family also must drive her to Gainesville once a week for her chemotherapy which is more than 250 miles away.

If you'd like to help the Howard there is a fund set up at People First Bank.

It's under the benefit of Amber Howard, or check out Amber's web page: http://www.caringbridge.org/visit/amberhoward


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