Girl with brain cancer remains strong
September 19, 2016
In early 2015, Ken and Amber Terhune's eldest of seven children, Sierra, began experiencing severe headaches and dizziness. The family went from one doctor to another seeking treatment but no one could determine what was wrong until they were sent to Oakland. There doctors located a tumor and diagnosed it as a malignant neoplasm of the brain, astrocytoma, a type of brain cancer.
"The migraines stop a lot of what I can do and the uncertainty is bothersome," said Sierra. "I'm just ready for it to be over."
In addition to balancing many doctor appointments, school schedules, and a full house, the Terhunes have had to make a lot of changes and sacrifices.
"There have been a lot of changes and modifications around the house and in what we do," said Amber. "She loves school and the hardest part for her is not being able to go."
Despite it all, Amber said that Sierra has always been very generous and has remained strong.
"When she underwent an operation once, she posted on Facebook asking for prayers and good thoughts be sent to her family instead of her," said Amber.
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Sierra has not let her condition get in the way of her generosity and love of helping others.
In the third-grade she started a group for bullied and special needs children. She volunteers at her church, going on missions and helping the homeless. Earlier this month she began collecting jackets which she plans to distribute around Lake Tahoe to those in need.
"Everyone deserves a home, shelter, and some love," said Sierra. "It makes me feel satisfied with what I have, making me want to give more."
She will also be participating in a charity for the Ronald McDonald House merely for the fun and the satisfaction of giving back.
"They've always been there for our family and have been a huge help over the years," said Amber. "The girls are excited to be singing and dancing in the charity and to be able to give back."
The charity is the 5th annual Red Shoe Gala at the Atlantis Hotel and Casino. The event is an opportunity to learn more about what Ronald McDonald is, whom they serve and the chance to give back to the community with music and entertainment.
Sierra and her sisters will sing "Flashlight" by Jessie J and songs by Edward Sharpe and Magnetic Zeros.
In an interview with Bliss Babe Magazine, Sierra said she wants to share hope with others and let them know there are many people who care.
"Having a loved one in the hospital battling an illness or injury is a lonely and frightening time. We have experienced this several times," said Sierra. "The Ronald McDonald House helped our family stay close and my parents found support in some very difficult times. I want to encourage people not to lose hope."
For more information and to help families, like the Terhunes visit rmhc-reno.org.