Ciara Brill is very, very sick. On December 29, 2016, the 9-year-old from Portsmouth, New Hampshire, was diagnosed with diffuse intrinsic pontine glioma, a fatal and inoperable brain tumor with a zero percent survival rate. “The life expectancy is nine months,” Ciara’s dad Harold Brills, tells Us Weekly. “Time with her is limited.” To make that time as joyful and special as possible, Ciara’s mom, Stacie, and Harold, created a GoFundMe page to help with medical expenses and the third grader’s dream to travel.
So far, the family has booked a trip to Boston where they will visit the aquarium and the Museum of Science. Ciara is also looking forward to visiting family in Arizona and a Disney Cruise where she hopes to swim with dolphins. But the little girl is understandably overwhelmed with the idea of a bucket list. “She’s just like, ‘You pick! and I’ll go!’” Harold tells Us. “We want to fulfill any wish for this kid, and at 9 years old she doesn’t know what’s out in the world. She just wants to go to the playground and have fun with her friends.”
He continues: “When Make-A-Wish reached out and asked what she would like to do, Ciara said she wanted to go to Great Wolf Lodge [in Pocono Mountains, Pennsylvania], which is just a little hotel water park. Then she suggested the zoo down the street!”
Though Ciara is aware she has cancer, Harold and Stacie have chosen not to reveal to her or her brother, Darian, 10, the grave extent of the disease. Explains Harold: “That’s too much weight on their shoulders.”
Since Ciara’s story went national, the animal-lover has been inundated with mail. “Today was my first trip to the post office and I had to push a cart to my truck!” marvels Harold. “There’s so much good in the world, there really is. We were opening letters for like an hour and a half and it just lit her up.”
One of the cards had $100 in cash inside. “I said, ‘What do you want to do with that?’” recalls Harold, “‘And she goes, ‘We’re gonna spend this on Darian.”
Ciara began radiation treatments, which will continue five days a week for six weeks, on January 25.
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