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On The Mark
On the Mark is published three-times-a-year by the CHOC Foundation. It features patient highlights, physician spotlights, news about major gifts and upcoming events, construction updates, and fundraising stories and is mailed to donors who support CHOC with a gift of $50 and more.

Girl with inoperable brain tumor brings joy to others

By any estimation, 7-year-old Cheyenne Broswell is a little girl with a big heart. Cheyenne enjoys baking cupcakes and pies for the staff at Children’s Hospital of Orange County (CHOC) and making blankets for children who have cancer. She even raised money to buy toys for CHOC’s Oncology floor playroom by selling handmade pictures door-to-door.

Because Cheyenne is such a giving, selfless child, it’s difficult to fathom that she is fighting her own battle with cancer.

When Cheyenne was 6, she began complaining about blurry vision, and her right eye was beginning to turn inward. Her mother Virginia took her to the eye doctor, who fitted Cheyenne with glasses.

According to Virginia, “one week later, Cheyenne was still suffering from terrible headaches and she couldn’t see. I took her to the emergency room at our local hospital, where she had an MRI. Then, the doctor delivered the terrible news; my daughter had a brain tumor. He explained that if I didn’t take her to CHOC immediately, she had as little as three weeks to live.”

“At CHOC, they determined Cheyenne had an inoperable brain stem tumor,” Virginia recalls. “Even with chemo and radiation, she was given a life expectancy of only 12 to 15 months. That was December of 2006; right now, we’re just praying for a miracle.”

Brain stem tumors are perhaps the most dreaded cancers in pediatric oncology, due to their historically poor prognosis—a large majority of children die within a year of diagnosis. Brain stem tumors account for about 10 to 15 percent of childhood brain tumors, and usually occur around age 6 to 9 years.

For the past year, Cheyenne has been undergoing a regimen of chemotherapy and radiation to shrink the aggressive tumor in her brain. Incredibly, despite frequent nausea and headaches, Cheyenne still makes it a priority to help others.

According to Virginia, “when Cheyenne found out a 4-year-old girl had cancer, she said ‘mom, we have to do something for her,’ and proceeded to make her a blanket and assemble a basket filled with crayons and candy for her.”

Although Cheyenne spends much of her time helping others, she is experiencing an outpouring of love from the community. Last summer, she and her family went to Disney World® courtesy of the Make-A-Wish Foundation, and in the fall Cheyenne was crowned queen of the Bee Kids USA pageant in Ontario—a pageant that encourages liking who you are. She also was showered with gifts and given a behind-the-scenes tour of Wonderland Bakery in South Coast Plaza.

As the Broswells continue to pray for a miracle, Virgnia explains, “Cheyenne does so much for others; she is just a circle of goodness.”


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chocChildren's Hospital of Orange County | UCI University of California, Irvine

Children's Hospital of Orange County is affiliated with UC Irvine Healthcare and UC Irvine School of Medicine

CHOC Children's - 1201 W La Veta Ave, Orange, CA. Phone: 714-997-3000. .