In 2013, four-year-old Keris Nicole Bembry started experiencing headaches in the back of her head. After being misdiagnosed a few times, her continued headaches and increasingly unsteady balance led her parents to follow their instincts and take Keris to Children’s Healthcare of Atlanta at Scottish Rite Hospital.
The very next day, an MRI revealed the culprit of these symptoms – Diffuse Intrinsic Pontine Glioma (DIPG).
After being told she only had six months left to live, everything changed for Keris’ family. The doctors immediately created a treatment plan, and chemotherapy and radiation quickly became a part of everyday life.
Keris’ joyful smile and passion for life didn’t change with DIPG. On the evening she was diagnosed, Keris’ family found the cutest dress the hospital had to offer and a crown fit for a princess.
Little did Keris know, that single act of boldly wearing her crown would set the tone for the rest of her journey. It was a constant reminder for herself and everyone around her to always keep your head up so your crown doesn’t slip.
That next year came with many obstacles, but Keris was met with an abundance of love and encouragement through it all. She had a royal court of support. With the help of her medical team, parents, siblings, family and friends, Keris received the best care possible for DIPG as she went to Atlanta, Houston and Cincinnati to fight that tumor with all her might. However, the tumor would not shrink enough in size and remained inoperable throughout the treatments.
Determined to live her best life, Keris filled her days with love, laughter and adventure. Keris never stopped going to school, spending time with friends and doing all the things that made her heart smile.
On July 12th, 2015, Keris gained her wings. That was one year, eight months and 12 days after the day she was diagnosed – and gratefully many more than the six months Keris was predicted to have.
Don’t be mistaken and think Keris lost her battle. She won in more ways than one. She led her way through each obstacle with grace. After all, a true princess never lets you see her sweat.
Give now to the Four Pennies initiative and change the outcome for children like Keris. 100% of proceeds from Four Pennies donations will be invested in Project Open DIPG, a groundbreaking research partnership to cure this treatment-defying tumor.