Local Girl Suffering Rare Brain Tumor, Family Foreclosed On

By: Elizabeth Prann Email
By: Elizabeth Prann Email

As you prepare to sit down with your family and give thanks, you may try to remember a local family who, despite hard times, is thankful for each new day with their daughter.

Amber Howard appears to be an average teenager but in reality, there is at tumor resting on her brain stem and her health fluctuates.

"It's the hardest thing you can ever do to see her hooked up and have to think she'll always have to deal with it. You want your children to have a good life. You don't want them to have to worry about anything," said Shawn Howard, whose daughter is suffering from a brain tumor.

The journey began in April 2008 shortly after she was diagnosed with Ganglioglioma. The doctors went in to remove the tumor but Shawn said it was a subtotal resurrection and doctors were only able to get 20-25%.

That 25 % regrew less than 9 months later.

Time isn't on the Howard family's side and they have foreclosure papers to prove it. In September they were served with papers, telling the family of 4, they had to be out of their spacious 3 bedroom home. After multiple denials from government programs the family now lives in a two bedroom apartment.

"We decided our best option right now would be to let the house go and take care of our daughter. It's hard, it's a transition but compared to what she has to go through, when you see her hooked up to the drugs and the machines, it's really a small sacrifice," Neil Howard said.

Shawn can't work, she must home school Amber and take her to Gainesville once a week for treatments. Amber needs to refrain from large crowds due to her weakened immune system, but none of this breaks the family's spirits.

And one thing they're all looking forward to, is the holidays, together, as a family, at home.

Shawn said the family is so thankful Amber is home and not in the hospital. And Neil adds, "when you wake up, even if it's in a small apartment, even if it's in a tent. You really don't care. Just as long as she slept through the night and woke up... That's a good day."

If you'd like to help, there is an "Amber Howard" fund set up at People's First Bank.


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