Childhood Cancer Awareness Month: Cora Hall’s story

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(ABC 6 News) – According to the American Cancer Society, more than 10,000 children under the age of 15 will be diagnosed with cancer in the United States this year. Because of major treatment advances, 85% of children with cancer now survive five years or more.

Earlier this year, seven-year-old Cora Hall of Albert Lea was struggling with headaches. She wasn’t getting much relief from over-the-counter medicine. Then, she started having trouble with one of her eyes, and her parents took her to the doctor.

“Listen to your kid, you never know when something is wrong with them,” is the advice Cora’s dad, Jacob had.

An MRI found a softball-sized brain tumor on the back of Cora’s head. She was diagnosed with brain cancer and ended up having surgery, six weeks of radiation, and chemotherapy.

Cora has a very rare form of cancer and is only the eighth person in the world to have it. The simplest way to describe it is a rare fusion.

“It’s scary to know that it is so rare,” said Cora’s mom, Crystal.

“But I think Cora has prospered through every treatment and every obstacle that it’s pretty easy to stay hopeful these days. In the beginning, it was a lot scarier than it is now.”

Explaining to Cora’s three other siblings, wasn’t exactly easy.

“Why she got a tumor? How she got it?” Crystal said.

“If they could get it from her? If it was contagious? You don’t know at such a young age, what’s appropriate to share and how to share that.”

Even though Cora was away from her friends at school, she made connections with nurses. Spending her time playing games and getting crafty. A bit camera shy, Cora’s face lit up when she talked about a certain teddy bear, “Fart Bear.”

Cora and her “Fart Bear.”

A nurse brought Cora a bear with a fart machine inside, controlled by a remote. Cora not only pulled tricks in the hospital but also at home. Bringing a smile to her face as well as her family’s when things were tough.

For other families experiencing similar hardships, the Hall family says leaning on friends and family is key.

“You’re going to need them if you’re in a position like this. Every day, is a little bit better,” added Crystal.

Cora said she is feeling much better. She has an MRI in October to see if there’s any regrowth of the tumor. She has also been selected for Make-a-Wish, her request is to go to Disney World.