Julianna Sayler has been in Monterrey, Mexico, for two months for intra-arterial chemotherapy treatments for her rare form of brain cancer. The aggressive diffuse intrinsic pontine glioma typically affects children between the ages of 5-9.
The Nov. 20, 2016, diagnosis indicated the tumor itself is inoperable. Julianna’s aunt, Stephanie Silver, reports her tumor is showing signs of shrinkage and “we are very thankful for our amazing community that has come together again and again to help Julianna ‘beat the bump.’”
The daughter of Eric and Stacie Sayler, Julianna and family members were in England earlier this year for her initial surgery and subsequent monthly treatments. “She has demonstrated her beautiful heart and courage beyond her years,” Stephanie said.
“After her previous treatment she had some setbacks, which resulted in an extended stay in the pediatric intensive care unit. These unexpected costs are great and we are working together to continue paying for her intra-arterial chemo treatments.
“It is encouraging to see things moving in the right direction and we are hopeful we will be able to continue to raise funds. She is still in the PICU but is doing better and taking small steps forward every day. In the world of DIPG, small steps are HUGE,” Stephanie emailed.
Stacie posted on Facebook, “Just like the Monarch butterfly who overcomes huge obstacles during its 3,000 mile migration journey, Julianna is overcoming overwhelming odds against DIPG.”
On Thursday, Stacie said Julianna’s team of doctors decided to proceed with her fourth intra-arterial chemotherapy infusion.
“It was a scary decision for us considering what happened last time. But we trust the team of doctors here and God to keep her safe,” Stacie said.
“One of the things that makes Walla Walla such an amazing place to live is its people. Their generosity and kindness have surrounded us and humbled us.”
To that end, a couple of fundraisers are coming up.
By donating their time and expertise with clients, a group of local hairstylists and licensed massage therapists are teaming to raise funds for Julianna.
Sign-ups for a haircut or 20-minute massage may be made at 525-3336 for appointments between 9 a.m.-3 p.m. Sunday at LeFore’s Skin Care and Health Spa, 2 E. Poplar St. Walk-ins are also welcome. The $25 minimum donations go directly toward Julianna’s treatment.
“Lefore’s Spa and Salon has been a huge supporter of Team Julianna. They always make her feel like a princess,” Stephanie said.
Stephanie said Julianna recently had the majority of her head shaved for a surgical procedure.
That got the team thinking about another way to raise awareness for the young cancer warriors who are battling for their lives.
They often lose their hair to radiation, chemotherapy or surgical procedures, which leaves them feeling ashamed and sad, Stephanie said.
Thus the Brave the Shave fundraiser was born. Individuals may set a personal goal, ask friends, co-workers and family to donate and or join them and then each participant shaves all or part (say in an undercut) of his or her head.
When folks ask about the shaved head, “you have the perfect opportunity to educate others about childhood cancer and DIPG,” Stephanie said.
Participants can challenge their friends, too. Post pictures and videos on Team Julianna’s Facebook page, Julianna’s Journey — Praying for a Cure, and show your support. “She will LOVE it,” said Stephanie, who plans to Brave the Shave on Sunday at the Lefore’s Spa fundraiser.
For more details, or to send cards, write Team Julianna, P.O. Box 690, College Place, WA 99324, or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
Donations may also be made to the Julianna Sayler account ending in 0382 at Umpqua Bank. Online see juliannasjourney.com.