My Survival Story: Beating Cancer After I Was Diagnosed With A Brain Tumor At Age 13


I always loved the beauty and grace of dancing ballet, an art that I had been practicing since the age of 4. In fact, it was at dance class early in 2009 when I started seeing spots and was extremely dizzy. I told my mom, Becky, who immediately began to look for answers. Initially, I sought treatment with an optometrist, then an ophthalmologist. When I received the glasses I thought were needed, and they didn’t correct my vision, my family and I knew something was gravely wrong. Finally, we met with a neurologist, where an MRI detected the worst…

I had a brain tumor. I was only 13 years old.Emily Freeman and family in Cancer Center

I was diagnosed with a non-germinomatous germ cell tumor (NGGCT) pressed against my optic nerve and wrapped around the pituitary gland. Immediately, my team of doctors, specialists, nurses, child-life specialists, physical therapists and more at Texas Children’s Cancer Center began drafting a treatment plan of chemotherapy and radiation especially designed for me.

I underwent 6 rounds of chemotherapy, from June to October. Although it was a struggle, I fought to keep my spirits lifted. I found encouragement throughout the hospital — with different staff members, like the housekeeper who would come by with words of wisdom, to my own nurse who was a cancer survivor. Singing “Dream Big” with Texas Children’s Hospital Purple Songs Can Fly and visiting the Radio Lollipop studio on the 16th floor also kept the arts in my life.Emily Freeman and clowns in Cancer Center

After finishing chemotherapy at Texas Children’s Hospital, I then continued with 33 days of proton radiation at M.D. Anderson through November and December. On December 22, 2009, I finally reached the finish line of treatment.

I just celebrated my 17th birthday and have almost reached the milestone of 3 years cancer free. While I still struggle with some side effects from my bout with cancer, I pride myself on remaining optimistic and uplifting. I hope I can continue to be an example of the power of positivity!Cancer survivor Emily Freeman and her family in Hawaii

About Emily Freeman, Former Patient

When I was just 13 years old, I was diagnosed with a non-germinomatous germ cell tumor (NGGCT) located on the hypothalamus and optic nerve in my brain.

After several rounds of chemo at Texas Children's Cancer Center, I am now cancer-free.

Posted in Cancer and Hematology, Guest Post, Videos

4 Responses to My Survival Story: Beating Cancer After I Was Diagnosed With A Brain Tumor At Age 13

  1. Sandra S. says:

    Emily you are beautiful and strong! What an inspiring story of hope and perseverance .

  2. Pingback: Texas Children’s Cancer Center | Cancer

  3. Lynda Gilpin says:

    Your an awesome testimony to the Lord Jesus. What a beautiful young lady and your spirit is so special as I see you smile. Blessings, and love. Lynda G.

  4. Amy S. says:

    Reading your story is inspiring, I will keep the positive thoughts coming your way. My niece just turned 16 and was diagnosed a week ago with a Non-Germinomatous Germ Cell Tumor. She is at UCSF in San Francisco for her treatment, she starts chemo tomorrow. She is scared, but they are hopeful and we are all keeping positive.

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