When the Iowa Hawkeyes take the field this Saturday at Penn State, a Fairfield teenager will be the Hawkeyes’ Honorary Kid Captain.
17-year-old Gabby Ford has been battling a brain tumor for seven years with support from her family and the University of Iowa Stead Family Children’s Hospital.
When she was 10, Gabby was flown to the children’s hospital after a scan at her local hospital revealed a buildup of fluid and a mass in the middle of her brain. She was diagnosed with hypothalamic pilocytic astrocytoma, a brain tumor that originates from star-shaped cells called astrocytes.
Multiple surgeries were performed to relieve pressure in Gabby’s brain, remove as much of the tumor as possible, and place a shunt. She also underwent two years of chemotherapy. However, scans showed the tumor had grown in size.
After additional surgeries and chemotherapy proved ineffective, Gabby eventually received a new investigational drug—called DAY101—which has decreased the tumor’s size.
Aside from surgery, the hospital says DAY101 is the only treatment that has decreased the size of the tumor.
Now a junior in high school, Gabby hopes to become a writer and enjoys math.