Sierra Terhune on the road to recovery |

Sierra Terhune on the road to recovery

by Caryn Haller
The Terhune family.
Special to The R-C |

At 10 years old, Sierra Terhune began having regular dreams that her parents, Amber and Ken, could only describe as nightmares.

In her dream, Sierra was told by a stranger that she would see her baby sister, who died in 2008 from Sudden Infant Death Syndrome, when Sierra turned 12.

In May 2014 Sierra turned 12, and by November of that year she began having intense headaches. After multiple trips to doctors, it was discovered Sierra had a brain tumor the size of a walnut.

“I don’t think I believed something was going to happen like that, but I’m thankful she had the dreams because I took her headaches more serious,” Amber said. “Had she not shared her dreams with us, I don’t know how serious we would have taken it.”

Three weeks after the March 9 surgery to remove the tumor, Sierra is still sifting through stacks of get well cards.

“It’s overwhelming,” Sierra said of the community support. “I’m always the one giving the support, and not receiving it.”

To remove the tumor, surgeons made a 6-inch incision from the ride side of Sierra’s head across to her left ear.

“I thought it was pretty scary knowing I had to get surgery,” Sierra said. “The doctors were awesome. They were kind, loyal and truthful. They made sure I was OK.”

Praying that the worst was behind them, the family received news March 19 that Sierra’s tumor was a stage 2 glioma.

“It’s not benign, but it doesn’t appear to be too aggressive, either. For now, since it’s at a 2, they are going to hold off on chemotherapy and/or radiation hoping the surgery is all that will be needed as far as treatment goes,” Amber wrote in a blog she has kept. “They will continue to monitor it very closely. The not so great part of this, is that surgery alone rarely gets all the tumor cells, and regrowth is common, which then becomes a higher grade, requiring further, more aggressive treatment.”

For Sierra, this experience has increased her faith.

“I prayed the night before surgery that I wouldn’t lose my memory,” she said. “And He answered.”

She is not without worry, however.

“I’m nervous about it,” she said. “I don’t know how to handle it all.”

For now, Sierra will need frequent MRIs and be seen by an oncologist, neurologist and a urologist. She will also have to do physical, speech and occupational therapy.

“We’ve gotten emails from the Philippines and Puerto Rico and England saying that they’re praying for her,” Amber said. “It’s a battle. It’s something we have to keep walking through. I’m minute-to-minute. Sometimes I’m OK, and sometimes I hit a wall. I try not to get caught up in the worry.”

The community continues to rally around Sierra with two fundraisers in the works.

The first is 2 p.m. April 11 at The Moose and Squirrel and The Grill Next Door in the Gardnerville Ranchos for the Terhune family. There will be raffles, a silent auction and a barbecue dinner for $10 a plate.

Also, half of the proceeds from the May 1 Elisa Storke Memorial Dodgeball Tournament at Douglas High School will benefit the family.

To follow Sierra’s journey, visit