Community rallying around Elkhart Co. teen battling brain cancer

Published: Mar. 2, 2021 at 5:32 PM EST
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MIDDLEBURY, Ind. (WNDU) - Northridge High School senior Zain Pixley is used to overcoming adversity, fighting for his life ever since his birth. He had his first seizure when he was a few hours-old.

“So he’s had seizures all his life. And they found a brain tumor at the age of two by accident. And it wasn’t growing, but we had to watch it,” explained Trisha Pixley, Zain’s mother.

In 2019, Zain started having double vision, headaches, and difficulty walking: the tumor was growing.

“And then it started to ‘enhance,’” she said. “What they mean by enhancement usually means it’s got some blood supply to - it usually means it’s turned to cancer.”

However, nothing immediately could be done about the tumor. With Zain’s mom - a nurse -losing her job following a workman’s comp injury, the teen had to wait nine months until he was granted Medicaid. In June 2020, Zain underwent two brain surgeries to remove the cancerous tumor. But three months later, a MRI showed some cancer remained.

“He was starting to get some of his symptoms back, like his double vision was starting to come back,” Trisha said.

As the Pixley’s work with doctors to determine Zain’s next course of treatment, they have established a GoFundMe page to help cover medical costs, travel expenses for Indianapolis doctors’ visits along with physical, occupational, and speech therapy that Zain needs.

“I’ve used up all of my retired savings. I’ve used up all of my savings account. We have no more savings, we have nothing. We’ve sold some stuff. I’ve sold some stuff. I mean, we have - we literally live day by day,” Trisha stressed.

Northridge High School also sold t-shirts to help the Pixleys.

“Everybody that that goes out of your way to donate money to us, I mean, so I don’t have to wake up and wonder if I can eat, you know, like, if - so I don’t have to wake up and wonder if I have to not do as much because of electrical bills, you know? Because I worry about that,” said Zain.

Despite the unknowns, Zain is trying to stay positive.

“Everybody’s just giving me support. So I don’t feel alone. And it’s really helpful,” he said.

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