8-year-old battling cancer gets big show of support from community

Published: Dec. 6, 2020 at 10:30 PM CST
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CEDAR RAPIDS, Iowa (KCRG) - Eight-year-old Gracelyn Springer loves to be active. She loves playing with her little brother, her parents, and dancing. But now, she’s getting ready for a difficult fight.

Her mom, Kelsey Springer, and Kelsey’s partner Marty Tope, said they first started seeing signs something was wrong in September. After tests, they learned she had a tumor that grew towards her brain, which led to surgery.

“She had a craniotomy on Monday the 16th, she has a nice little incision from it, where they got the tumor out,” Springer said.

More tests showed Gracelyn has Ewing’s Sarcoma, a rare form of aggressive cancer that happens in only one percent of childhood cancers. On Monday, she starts 30 weeks of chemotherapy at the University of Iowa Hospitals and Clinics.

“Her recovery from surgery has been amazing,” Marty Tope said. “She’s been dancing, and singing and playing.”

Gracelyn had to get her head shaved before surgery, and earlier this week, Tope’s coworkers at the Linn County Sheriff’s Department came by their house with a matching surprise.

“They all went to the barbershop and got the same haircut as Gracelyn, and came down our street in a line, like a little parade of police cars,” Springer said. “They even brought the bearcat, and she got to go in that.”

She said she’s been extremely grateful for the outpouring of support coming from family, friends, and even total strangers. And as their family heads into the long process of chemotherapy, radiation, and recovery, Springer said it’s a big help to not feel alone helping Gracelyn win her battle.

A GoFundMe for Gracelyn and her family, with updates on her battle, can be found here.

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