July 4th was, as Issy Kwei‘s mom, Jeena Choi, calls it, “tumor independence day.”
That was the day doctors at Yale University Hospital miraculously diagnosed and removed the tumor that had invaded Issy’s brain stem.
Symptoms had started just a week before–after having some breathing difficulty, the 12-year-old rising Middlebrook 7th grader had been seen by a number of doctors at Yale and put through several tests. Her condition continued to deteriorate until they found the cerebellar tumor. It took an 8-hour surgery by a brilliant, dedicated team, and a whole lot of prayers, and Issy is now “tumor-free”–they say completely.
While Issy will be challenged with relearning all those brain-stem controlled skills–from breathing, swallowing, talking and more–the Kwei-Choi family now faces exorbitant medical expenses, and there will be months of hospital bills (between $250,000-$500,000, estimated) ahead.
You may know Issy’s parents, Jeena and Frank Kwei, from the pop-up Mama Cat Milkbar tea restaurant they had several years ago; your children may be classmates of Issy or her younger 8-year-old sister, Lu. Issy is a straight-A student who plays the flute, loves swimming and is a budding equestrian. She is a talented artist and has a fashion eye Anna Wintour would envy.
Please consider contributing to the GoFundMe account that has been created to help Issy and her family. GOOD Morning Wilton will also forward any GOOD wishes readers want to extend in the comments below.