Bryn was only 10-months-old when she was diagnosed with a rare cancerous brain tumor called Anaplastic Malignant Ependymoma

At 10 months old, Bryn Rathweg was developmentally on track and seemed to be the picture of health. She was rarely sick, having just two colds since she was born.

Then one day, in March 2011, her mother, Michelle, noticed some odd behavior. Bryn would stare off into space for 15 to 30 seconds then snap back into reality. Michelle had a gut feeling that something was wrong and also did some research. Over the next two days, Bryn’s behavior was worse, so Michelle took her to the Emergency Department at Rady Children’s Hospital-San-Diego.

On the evening of the following day, Michelle learned that Bryn had a rare brain cancer called anaplastic ependymoma, a tumor that is very aggressive, fast-growing and difficult to treat.

The next morning, Bryn had a six-hour surgery to remove as much of the tumor as possible. Her care team then suggested she be part of a clinical trial, which involved four months of chemotherapy, proton radiation therapy (at a facility out-of-state) and six months of metronomic chemotherapy, in which chemotherapy is provided repeatedly in low doses.

Over the course of one year, Bryn would have the following treatments: two surgeries; 197 doses of chemotherapy; 30 rounds of radiation; 12 blood transfusions; 158 blood draws, injections and port accesses; 37 tests and scans, and 22 different medications.

Today, Bryn, now 3, is under the care of Dr. John Crawford at Rady Children’s and shows no signs of the cancer. When the family heard the letters NED (No Evidence of Disease), they were overjoyed. Bryn continues to be monitored by Dr. Crawford and is a strong and resilient fighter.

Bryn’s father, Josh, believes that the saying “Your life can change in an instant” holds special significance for the family.

Proton therapy is now available to Rady Children’s patients right here in San Diego. Click here to learn more.