Jada Harper, who turned seven on Sept. 1, has an inoperable malignant tumor in her brain and is in a coma with a ventilator doing her breathing for her. She has been at the famous cancer center in Houston since July, but her situation is now at the point not much else can be done to help her.
Friday afternoon, Jada was flown home to the Ozarks — on a gurney, attached to the machine that breathes for her. FedEx Freight paid the $11,000 bill for the special medical flight her family was unable to afford.
Jada is the daughter of Savannah and Jason Surface and has been a student at Green Forest Elementary School. The family, which includes Lyndon, 4, and Gracelyn, almost 2, lived in Oak Grove until Jada got sick this summer, and the family moved in with Jason’s family — his mother Wanda and sister Brandy Surface — in Batavia.
“Jada got diagnosed in June with a malignant brain tumor,” said the child’s grandmother, Wanda Surface. “It’s a brain-stem glioma, and it’s inoperable.”
Wanda said Jada was first treated at Arkansas Children’s Hospital in Little Rock.
“The most important thing was radiation, so we spoke with doctors all over the United States. There was one doctor who really wanted to see her, from M. D. Anderson’s in Houston. So we took her to Anderson’s in July.”
Jada was able to travel by car at that time.
“She had chemo and radiation,” Wanda said. “The treatment was shrinking the tumor, but they only gave us 18 months. Then about three weeks ago, she seized, and it killed part of her brain. She’s been in a coma for three weeks now. They had to put her on a ventilator.”
Wanda said Jada is not able to be taken off of the ventilator.
“They say she could still wake up, but she’ll still have brain damage,” she said. “They’re only giving us three months now.”
The child’s grandmother said medical experts at M. D. Anderson’s recently gave Jada’s parents a choice: to give her further radiation, which might buy her six months — “They said she could stay here, and let her lay here and let us keep her alive for maybe six more months. Or — you could take her home and give her three months.”
Wanda said Savannah and Jason “couldn’t bear to think about her lying there in that hospital for six more months. They decided to take her home to her family, to everyone who loves her. Everybody is here.
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