— By SALLY SEXTON
The loss of a child is something no parent should have to go through.
But it’s the reality Kaitlen and John Burris, of Weatherford, are facing with their 3-year-old daughter, Riley, who is diagnosed with a life-threatening disease.
After complaining of headaches, Riley was taken by her parents to Cook Children’s Hospital in Dallas on March 28. After the encouragement of the doctor, Riley was given an MRI that night. It was then that doctors diagnosed her with diffuse intrinsic pontine glioma cancer, an aggressive and difficult-to-treat brain tumor generally found at the base of the brain.
“She had a headache and got the MRI [March 28] and that’s when we found out. It just caught us all off guard,” Riley aunt, Kristin Oates, said. “It’s so big that they can’t do anything about it.”
On Friday morning, Burris was moved to Baylor University Medical Center and placed on hospice.
“She’s on a lot of medicine to make her not hurt. She sleeps a lot but when she’s not, she says ‘Mommy’ and ‘I love you,’” Oates said. “But she can’t eat, drink or swallow. Sometimes the medicine will let her move her hands, but she can’t lift her head or anything.
“My sister has to do all that for her.”
According to friends of the family, Riley is scheduled to be moved home to Weatherford on hospice care in about a week.
“The cancer is one that really has no cure so it just took over,” Oates said. “Now we’re on hospice just waiting for her to be ready.”
With mounting medical bills and funeral costs looming, friends and family are trying to raise money to aid Riley.
A car wash two weeks ago yielded little support, but friends are planning a garage sale at Title Max, 980 S. Main St., Sunday from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. with the hope of garnering more donations for the Burrises. Anyone wishing to drop off items to sell in the sale may also do so, and can contact Reyes at 817-565-8978.
“The whole Weatherford football team is going to be there and we’ll have the garage sale, face painting, things like that, and try to make as much money as possible,” family friend Tina Reyes said. “We really want the community to come together and just get as many people out there as possible.”
Anyone wishing to further contribute to Riley’s cause can donate at jars set up at Cici’s Pizza, 325 Adams Drive, No. 355, Weatherford, as well as Title Max. A fund at First Financial Bank has also been set up in the name of Mary Ellison for Riley Burris.