A bright future ahead for young girl with tumor

KNOXVILLE, Tenn. (WVLT)-- In April, we introduced you to a little girl from Belize who had a football sized tumor on her face. After hours of surgery it was removed and now her family tells us how she's doing.

Juan Ishim, Catarina's grand-father said "She's strong and she's doing good. We are so very happy that God is so great and has given Catarina very good strength."

The surgery was 20 hours long and in the process she lost her nose, one eye and part of her face. In recent months she has lost most of her hair due to chemotherapy but through it all she has kept her positive spirit.

"I asked her if it was hard for her to see with only one eye. She told me that it's not hard; she just has to make a little turn and she can see everything." said Juan

Catarina has spend the past months meeting new people, coloring, swimming, running and singing; everything you'd expect out of a 12-year-old.

"She's doing it all by herself before she was always in a wheelchair but now things are much different." Juan said

Even though she's doing a lot better now, Catarina still has regular chemotherapy treatments at East Tennessee Children's Hospital.

D. Ray Pais, Pediatric Oncologist said "For this type of tumor there's a high chance that it could come back like it did in the past. But with regular treatments we hope to get rid of any microscopic cancer cells that might be hidden."

Her treatments will continue through November and Dr. Pais said he's confident that she will make a full recovery.

As for the future, Catarina told us "I want to go to school. I want to read and write. I hope to be very educated so I can do something really different in my life."

If you want to help children, like Catarina, who need medical attention they can't get anywhere else, you can donate to the Faith Welch Fund.

It's named after the first child who came to Knoxville for medical attention from a foreign country. The fund is through the East Tennessee Children's Hospital and the number to call is 865-541-8441.

You can also mail a check to:

Children's Hospital
Faith Welch Fund
2018 Clinch Avenue
Knoxville, TN 37916


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