A baby girl from Nevada who recently beat brain cancer finally got to ring the bell beside her grateful parents, signifying the end of her nearly five-month-long treatment.
In an emotional video shared on Leann Borden’s Facebook on Jan. 25, the proud mom stood beside her husband Patrick Borden and their baby girl, Lillian “Lily” Grace, as they celebrated a new chapter in their daughter’s health journey.
“You guys are all incredible, I’ve never met such amazing people in my whole life,” Leann told the hospital staff through tears in the heartwarming clip.
“We would’ve lost everything in this journey. You guys are just absolutely incredible people and we’re so thankful for everything you guys have done,” she added before ringing the bell with her young daughter.
Lily’s celebratory moment came close to five months after the infant was born on Sept. 5, 2019, and a nurse made a concerning observation about her movements, according to a GoFundMe page set up on behalf of the Borden family.
“She was not distressed at birth, we held her, she cried, we cried, all was right with the world,” family member Shari Borden wrote. “But a nurse noticed some small clue that something was wrong. Lily wasn’t moving her limbs quite right.”
Leann described her daughter’s movements to CNN as if Lily “came out paralyzed” and said one nurse’s curiosity soon escalated to five nurses examining her baby girl in the hospital room.
After an orthopedic specialist was notified, Lily underwent an MRI which confirmed that there was “an ominous spot on her brain stem,” the GoFundMe states. The infant was then rushed to the NICU, where she was put on a breathing and feeding tube.
Additional testing performed in the following days showed that Lily’s tumor was getting larger, extending from her brain stem down to her spinal cord below her shoulders, and had developed into an aggressive stage 3-4 malignant glioma, according to the GoFundMe.
The results were expectedly heartbreaking for Leann, who told CNN she felt partially at fault for her only child’s health issues.
“I was devastated,” Leann recalled to the outlet. “I think maybe as a woman, as the mom, because you’re the one carrying the kid, you feel a lot of guilt. You’re like, ‘What did I do to cause this?’ And for [the doctors] to look at you and say, ‘It’s just bad luck,’ I think that devastates me even more because you can’t even blame yourself.”
Though doctors told the Bordens that there was “little hope” and “the tumor was inoperable and growing aggressively,” they decided to move forward with a biopsy and a new form of targeted chemotherapy that focuses on tumors of a certain genetic makeup, according to the GoFundMe.
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Over the next few weeks, Lily underwent several rounds of treatment, including general chemotherapy and targeted therapy. Ultimately, their decision paid off as both treatments helped shrink and eventually destroy the tumor altogether, the GoFundMe states.
By Jan. 25, Shari said “the day we had been praying for finally came,” as Lily, who had been home since late November, was finally declared cancer-free and had the joy of ringing the bell, “signifying the successful end of treatment.”
On Facebook alongside the celebratory video, Leann thanked their loved ones for supporting their family through this trying time.
“To everyone who has been through this journey with us, this is our big moment with Lily!” Leann wrote. “We thank everyone who has been with us this whole time. From all of the donations, text messages and prayers. We hope you enjoy this video! And now her name will be hung forever.”
The proud mom also told CNN she hopes Lily’s story will serve an inspiration to others who have been diagnosed with similar health challenges.
“I hope that [Lily] shares her story, to let people know that there is hope,” she told the outlet. “I hope she inspires other people to keep fighting the good fight and to not give up.”