How a North County San Diego child is hoping to stop the spread of her cancer by spreading kindness

A 6-year-old girl with a rare and aggressive brain cancer started a GoFundMe to help other children and animals.

SAN DIEGO — After battling uncontrollable headaches and nausea over the summer, 6-year-old Layla was rushed to the emergency room at Rady Children’s Hospital. Her parents did not know that she would be diagnosed with a rare brain cancer. Her parents say she’s not fighting cancer, but her.

It’s only been two months since Layla was diagnosed with the rare and aggressive brain cancer called anaplastic supratentorial ependymoma, and all she wants to do is talk about his dog, Hey Man.

“My puppy is 6 years old,” Layla said. “Also, Hey Man throws everywhere. There, there, there.”

Layla loves animals, travel and the water, so her father wanted to create a meaningful GoFundMe with a goal of $100,000.

“What the GoFundMe me is, is Layla, it’s other kids, of course it’s the planet and the animals she loves,” Layla’s father said.

It has turned into a fun(d)raiser that raises money for research at St. Jude Children’s Hospital and charities of Layla’s choice.

“She wants to give something back to other children. She said she didn’t want this to happen to other kids, so we’re making a donation to St. Jude for research into this cancer because this cancer is so rare,” Layla’s father said.

Since August 2, Layla has had two brain surgeries to remove the tumor and tissue was donated to Rady Children’s Hospital for a study.

Beneath her long brown hair, Layla shows the scar on the side of her head from the surgeries.

“They did it the first time and then they cut it the same way the second time,” Layla said.

She has had radiation treatments and chemotherapy will begin in December to stop the cancer from spreading.

“Do you know that most kids can’t sit still for radiation and I don’t have to go under anesthesia for radiation?” said Layla.

She’s already spreading kindness. Some guys in Bozeman, Montana, heard of Layla’s story and started a lemonade stand.

“The world needs more leaders and leadership and we try to lead in that way,” Layla’s father said.

Another way Layla is giving back is one of 60 children in San Diego County who is part of the Moderna COVID-19 vaccine trial for children ages 6-11.

For privacy reasons, the family does not want to reveal their full names.

She received her second dose on September 22. Her parents say that night she was in pain, tired, her arm being shot hurt and she had a fever. They are convinced and ecstatic, but not sure that she got the vaccine and not the placebo.

“I think it’s important for other parents to hear from parents who were part of the process that it went pretty smoothly for us,” Layla’s father said.

Giving back is arguably Layla’s best medicine, as her love of research can keep her alive.

“Life has definitely changed, but we try to be as creative as possible to keep her enriched and engaged,” Layla’s father said.

If you want to help Layla fight this cancer and achieve her goal of helping others, click on her GoFundMe.

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