Meet Wesley! Wesley Beal, age 4, is a brain tumor survivor who was first diagnosed with a pediatric low-grade astrocytoma at 16 months old. Wesley’s parents began
to notice symptoms around when Wesley was 16 months old; he didn’t use much expressive language, had trouble walking, and was vomiting in the mornings. Their pediatrician initially suggested it could be any handful of things causing these symptoms. “We were so worried,” says Wesley’s mom Stacey, “and immediately thought the worst.” Through their constant advocacy, Wesley’s parents had an MRI scheduled for December 23rd; but by December 21st, Wesley couldn’t stand up without falling over. “I didn’t want to accept it would be a brain tumor,” says Stacey, “but deep down, I think I knew it was more serious than a sinus infection.”
Initially the Beal’s were told it was a fluid filled cyst, but were quickly corrected by their pediatrician who identified that it was a solid mass encased in fluid on Wesley’s cerebellum, which led to his balance issues. After confirmation of a tumor, the Beal’s arrived at Boston Children’s. They quickly were immersed in “languages foreign to them”, says Stacey. “They used terms we’d never heard or used, like cancer, benign, malignant, resection.” Wesley’s surgery was scheduled for December 24th – Christmas Eve. Wesley was visited by his favorite pediatrician and nurse from Attleboro, and his sister Sophia stayed with their grandmother while his family prepared for surgery.
On December 24, 2015, Wesley went in for his brain surgery. After a 12-hour surgery, the doctor confirmed that they believed they had gotten it all! Wesley remained in the PICU overnight with a special visit from Santa – and was visited by his mother, father, and sister Sophia when he woke up. Wesley remained in the hospital for 4 more days before heading home. Now, Wesley is a healthy, happy 4 year old and brain tumor survivor!