October 9, 2005 to September 11, 2011
On Mothers Day 2011 Gabriella Martha Vogel had the typical concerns of any five-year old girl: ”How much dinner do I need to eat to get her dessert?” “When is it my turn on the swing?” “Katie is looking at me!”
In the coming days, she developed balance problems, her vision got blurry and she started having trouble talking. On Memorial Day — just three weeks later — she had trouble standing when she woke up in the morning.
Her parents took her to the ER at the Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia, CHOP. Tuesday afternoon she was diagnosed with an inoperable tumor on her brain stem. On Friday, she had brain surgery to biopsy part of the tumor. The following Wednesday, June 8, the biopsy results came back: The tumor was a malignant and “explosively agressive” pontine glioma that had infiltrated much of her brain that is essential for life.
Thanks to Gabby’s supporters on her Facebook page, her family was able to contact most of the world’s top neuro-oncologists for a second opinion. After a few short days of looking, her parents developed the confidence that CHOP was the best place for her to be treated. Her treatment of radiation and chemotherapy began on June 15 at CHOP and lasted through July.
In August 2011, Gabby was able to spend some time outside of the hospital, spending time on a couple of short vacations with her family. Those were interrupted with trips back to the emergency room for complications related to her treatment.
On Labor Day weekend, she returned to the hospital and shortly after being admitted, she had a series of seizures. Brain scans showed that her tumor had continued to grow throughout the summer, and now had invaded new areas of her brain. She was released to hospice care at her home on September 8 and earned her wings at 8pm on September 11, 2011, surrounded by the people she loved.
Before Gabby’s tumor took her life, she lived with her family in Phoenixville, PA. She attended Zion Lutheran Preschool, loved swings, gymnastics classes and playing princess. She loved everything girly especially princesses. Her favorite color is pink.
Gabby’s parents, John and Carolynn Vogel, stayed at her side throughout her ordeal. They note that Gabby has always been their troublemaker, choosing to be born on their wedding anniversary. Gabby has two older sisters, Madison and Katie.
Throughout her ordeal, Gabby and her family have been helped by hundreds of people, many who were strangers or casual acquaintances before this happened. The generosity and support all these people have offered, many who have their own children battling a life-threatening condition, has been truly a miracle.
Gabby’s story, unfortunately happens all too often. Today, about 46 children will be diagnosed with cancer. Seven will become angels.generosity and support all these people have offered, many who have their own children battling a life-threatening condition, has been truly a miracle.
Pediatric cancers are the leading disease killer of children, yet they remain underfunded and issues prevent researchers from working on these complex diseases.
No parent should have to go through what Gabby’s parents went through. No child should have to endure the painful therapies that are our best hope for recovering their health, even though for many of these cancers, survival rates remain unbearably low.
Visit Gabby's website at http://getwellgabby.org .