The Learning Treehouse’s annual Alex’s Lemonade Stand had a hometown appeal this year.
The school has taken part for six years in the national effort to raise money to fight childhood cancer. This time, they were helping one of their own classmates.
Seven-year-old Masie Miller was the honoree for this year’s event, held Friday at The Learning Treehouse on Goshen Road. Miller, a student at Ebenezer Elementary School, has neurofibromatosis, a genetic disorder that affects nerve system’s cell growth. It also causes tumors to form on nerve tissues, according to the Mayo Clinic. Miller has a tumor on her optic nerve.
“She has difficulty warding off tumors, said Katie Miller, Masie’s mother. “She doesn’t have what we have to block the growth of tumors.”
Masie is undergoing chemotherapy for her tumor. Her condition also carries with it a bone deformity. Masie was 3 months old when doctors diagnosed her condition. Her right leg was amputated when she was just 8 months old.
Masie was fitted for a prosthetic leg and was walking at 13 months, her mother said.
She has chemo every Friday, and has been undergoing this round since January.
“It doesn’t stop her at all,” Katie Miller said.
Her tumor was diagnosed when she was 3 years old, and Masie underwent chemo for a year.
“It shrank pretty well,” Katie said. “But tumors don’t behave normally with her. They kind of have a mind of their own.”
Masie was rediagnosed in December, and doctors commissioned another year-long round of chemotherapy. Because the tumor is on her optic nerve, there are a few issues with her vision, her mother said.
“There’s no growth with the tumor, which they’re happy with,” she said of the doctors.
A neurosurgeon follows up closely with Masie, and there is a cyst on the tumor doctors are watching.
“They may go in and drain the cyst and relieve some of the pressure on her optic nerve,” Katie said.
In the meantime, Masie, who has been coming to The Learning Treehouse since she was 2, runs around and interacts with her schoolmates like any other 7-year-old.
“She grew up with these kids,” her mom said. “They just love her.”