Girl’s family throw her an early fourth birthday party after she’s diagnosed with terminal cancer

Family of brave three-year-old girl with terminal brain cancer throws her an early princess-themed fourth birthday party – admitting they ‘aren’t sure she will make it’ to the big day in March

  • Stephanie and Andrew McGuire from Brentwood, Tennessee, found out their three-year-old daughter Adalyn had an incurable brain tumor in July 2022
  • They decided to throw her a party ahead of her fourth birthday in March
  • Adalyn enjoyed her dream princess-themed party with friends and family
  •  Local charity, Dreams and Wishes of Tennessee, helped put on the birthday bash

The parents of a toddler with terminal brain cancer brought her birthday celebrations forward so she could live out her dream princess-themed party surrounded by friends and family. 

Stephanie and Andrew McGuire from Brentwood, Tennessee, found out their three-year-old daughter Adalyn had an incurable brain tumor in July 2022 after she had trouble moving her right eye and they have strived to make every moment since as special as possible. 

Thanks to a local charity, Dreams and Wishes of Tennessee, which helps young cancer patients make their wishes come true, the McGuires were able to put on a party to remember for Adalyn’s fourth birthday which actually falls on March 31. 

‘We aren’t sure if she will make it to her fourth birthday so we thought, let’s have an early party,’ mom-of-three Stephanie told DailyMail.com. 

Photos from the January 7 bash show the youngster dressed in her own princess outfit as she meets some of her favorite Disney characters, including the cast of Frozen. 

Stephanie and Andrew McGuire from Brentwood, Tennessee, found out their three-year-old daughter Adalyn had an incurable brain tumor in July 2022

Stephanie and Andrew McGuire from Brentwood, Tennessee, found out their three-year-old daughter Adalyn had an incurable brain tumor in July 2022

Thanks to a local charity Dreams and Wishes of Tennessee, the McGuires were able to put on a party to remember for Adalyn's fourth birthday which actually falls on March 31

Thanks to a local charity Dreams and Wishes of Tennessee, the McGuires were able to put on a party to remember for Adalyn’s fourth birthday which actually falls on March 31

One image shows her with a grin on her face as she holds her desired birthday dessert, a key lime pie, while another sees her playing with Olaf the snowman as plumes of fake snow blow around. 

In one particularly moving video clip, captured by Dreams and Wishes of Tennessee director Tanya Hudson Sturm, Adalyn can be seen living out another ‘wish’ and ‘dancing with her daddy’ once everyone had gone. 

Sturm captioned the clip: ‘The guests were gone, the party was taken down… I glance over and see this moment happening. I don’t think my heart could handle more.’  

Adalyn is currently battling a diffuse intrinsic pontine glioma (DIPG). According to the Dana-Farber Cancer Institute this type of brain tumor is highly aggressive and difficult to treat because it occurs in the lowest, ‘stem-like’ part of the brain.

This region, called the pons, controls many of the body’s most vital functions such as breathing, blood pressure, and heart rate. 

This condition only accounts for about 4 per cent of all pediatric brain tumors, and there are only 400 to 600 cases diagnosed in the US each year. 

Adalyn is currently battling a diffuse intrinsic pontine glioma (DIPG). According to the Dana-Farber Cancer Institute this type of brain tumor is highly aggressive

Adalyn is currently battling a diffuse intrinsic pontine glioma (DIPG). According to the Dana-Farber Cancer Institute this type of brain tumor is highly aggressive

'We aren't sure if she will make it to her fourth birthday so we thought, let's have an early party,' mom-of-three Stephanie said

‘We aren’t sure if she will make it to her fourth birthday so we thought, let’s have an early party,’ mom-of-three Stephanie said

The youngster gets her hands on Ariel the mermaid, crafted out of balloons

The youngster gets her hands on Ariel the mermaid, crafted out of balloons 

Neither surgery or chemotherapy are options, but Adalyn was put on steroids to reduce inflammation and she underwent 30 rounds of radiation over a six-week period to try and reduce the size of the tumor.  

Since Adalyn’s diagnosis, the McGuires have posted regular blog updates via the site CaringBridge

Just 24 hours prior we had thought we had a perfectly normal and happy three-year-old. And now, we have learned that she is anything but normal

In one post from August 17 2022, they wrote: ‘Parenting is hard in normal times. But in some ways it gets a whole lot easier in these strange times. It’s a lot less complicated when there’s only one thing to worry about. 

‘Life becomes a lot simpler, just focusing on the thing in front of you. And that’s all you can do in a season like this. One day at a time. And seek joy in every moment. Choose to make every day a good day.’ 

In their first blog post, Adalyn’s father Andrew details how her diagnosis came about.

He said on July 8 2022, she ‘woke up from a restful night’s sleep, feeling anything but normal’ and her right eye ‘looked a little off center’.

Concerned about their daughter’s behavior, the McGuires took Adalyn to a local emergency room to get checked out and she was sent on to Vanderbilt Children’s Hospital for an MRI. 

Since Adalyn's diagnosis, the McGuires have posted regular blog updates via the site CaringBridge

Since Adalyn’s diagnosis, the McGuires have posted regular blog updates via the site CaringBridge

Neither surgery or chemotherapy are options, but Adalyn (pictured left) was put on steroids to reduce inflammation and she underwent 30 rounds of radiation

Neither surgery or chemotherapy are options, but Adalyn (pictured left) was put on steroids to reduce inflammation and she underwent 30 rounds of radiation

Adalyn seen after her first radiation treatment last July

Adalyn seen after her first radiation treatment last July 

Recalling the chain of events from there, Andrew wrote: ‘Shortly after returning to the exam room in the emergency wing to wait for Adalyn to return, a couple of doctors walked in. 

‘I’m not sure who these were. One of them walked toward us, and knelt down in front of us. I knew it couldn’t be good news.

‘The man softly explained, “We saw something on the MRI. It is a tumor. It’s in her brain stem. We don’t have a lot more details for you right now, but we wanted to let you know what we saw. Your oncologist will be here shortly to discuss with you in more detail. Do you have any questions right now?” What am I supposed to say to that? I told the man, “I have lots of questions, but none of them are going to be helpful right now.”‘

Shortly after, the McGuires met with some oncologists who told them about Adalyn’s brain tumor and what the next steps would involve. 

Andrew concluded: ‘What a day! Just 24 hours prior we had thought we had a perfectly normal and happy three-year-old. And now, we have learned that she is anything but normal. 

‘She has a rare, incurable, brain tumor. As her parents, we were in shock, and heartbroken. We knew what all this meant. And we accepted it for what it was.’  

Dreams and Wishes of Tennessee director Ms Sturm said that Adalyn’s recent birthday party helped the McGuires make happier memories. Along with a key lime pie, the youngster’s other requests included meatballs, hot dogs, and Chick-fil-A chicken nuggets.

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