It’s been a year since Jiry Rosecrans received a life altering diagnosis of a brain tumor.
Posted on 4/30/16
By Melissa Anderson
Since then she has undergone numerous rounds of treatment and brain surgery to remove the tumor and keep it from growing. With summer fast approaching, Jiry has one thing she can look forward to thanks to Make-A-Wish North Dakota.
“My wish was for a playground that had a tire swing,” Jiry said, “I have wanted this for over five years.”
It was an easy wish for Jiry to choose the playground. The high spirited little girl that just doesn’t give up has been doing everything she can to be positive and upbeat.
“It is something I can see and play on each day. I will enjoy this much more than traveling somewhere,” Jiry shared.
Jiry enjoys being with her family, classmates, teachers, figure skating family in Devils Lake, 4-H Club and fellow volleyball campers. Jiry, who has been accomplishing as much as she can, has done so much in year simply by setting goals she can do in a nine week period. One aspect of the past year that has not been so easy has been school. Following her surgery, concentration became very difficult for her to complete school work. Reading, especially, has been a challenge. But she has overcome those challenges and is doing well academically with the modifications the school has in place for her.
“The Langdon school has been instrumental on getting Jiry as far as she is. They made sure she wasn’t going to fall behind, and for that I am very thankful,” Bridget Rosecrans, Jiry’s mother, said.
Since Jiry finished radiation treatment, she has developed numerous conditions as a result of the damage done by the treatment. Some of the disorders Jiry has developed are easily treated or medicated, but there are a few other disorders that there isn’t any medication for.
“Her medical list seems to grow each time we go to appointments, or if she has some new symptoms, we get her in to see a doctor, and we usually walk out with a new added diagnosis and medication,” Rosecrans said.
Current health issues Jiry has include: loosing her vision either due to her shrinking tumor or a new growth on her optic nerve chiasm, tendonopathy which causes every joint to ache after activity such as a short distance of walking or exercise, hypothalamic obesity, pre-hypoglycemic and diabetic insepidius which differs from the more common diabetes many are familiar with. This condition deals with the sodium levels in Jiry’s brain and blood, making them very hard to regulate.
As if that list is not enough for Jiry to have to deal with none of Jiry’s eight glands work properly causing a whole host of conditions and problems for the spunky little girl.
“Most days she is achy and just not up for much, but she still tries to live like there is no tomorrow and has a big smile and hugs to give out,” Rosecrans said.
Currently, Jiry undergoes MRIs quite often to determine what is going on with the optic nerve chiasm which is causing her to loose her peripheral vision. Recently, Jiry’s acuity vision in her left eye has gotten worse, making life an endless stream of appointments.
“We are playing the hurry up and wait game to see what the future holds,” Rosecrans stated.
The hurry up and wait has been a theme for the year in regards to treatments and medical procedures as Rosecrans and Jiry mark the one year anniversary of the discovery of the tumor on May 4.
“We have been on auto pilot for most of the time I think, just going thru the motions of each day, trying to stay positive,” Rosecrans said, “It has been very tough trying to keep her day-to-day activities and doctor’s appointments straight.”
The past year’s activities and diagnosis after diagnosis has been a blur for the family. The traveling for appointments and continued treatments, both medical and for fun, have taken their toll on everyone in Jiry’s life, but that isn’t stopping them from marveling at how far they have come.
“I can’t believe we have made it this far,” Rosencrans said, “When you are faced with these life altering changes, it is amazing how it opens your eyes to really try and enjoy everything.”
Rosecrans and Jiry have realized that there are so many things, every little thing in fact, in life that can be something to be grateful for. An example Rosecrans used was the donated use of port a potties by Diseth Auction company from Edmore. Diseth Auction not only donated the use of the port a potties but even delivered it and set it up for the Make A Wish Reveal Party.
“We do not have much spare time, and it would have been tough to get those port a potties here with the little time we had,” Rosecrans said.
“Everyday is a new day that presents new challenges for us. Each day is never taken for granted,” Rosecrans added.
So when the family was asked if they wanted to apply to Make-A-Wish North Dakota it was just one more thing they were grateful for. The process began in October of 2015.
“They called me and told me all about their program and they wanted to know if it’s ok to grant her a wish,” Rosecrans said, “I had to fill out a form saying she had not been granted a wish before, what would her wishes be, and any physical limitations. Just simple, easy questions.”
The process of making and having the wish granted has been one of the easiest tasks the Rosecrans family has had to do over the past six months. Volunteers met with Jiry to get her ideas for a wish then put together some examples.
“We met again to make the final decision on her wish. They asked us what dates would work for the install, and they arranged everything,” Rosecrans said.
“I was so excited when I had the meeting to pick out the final design of the playground,” Jiry added, “I made sure it had a tire swing and I couldn’t wait to get on it.”
Make-A-Wish grants wishes to children with life-threatening medical conditions to enrich the human experience with hope, strength and joy. It is their vision to reach every eligible child and grant their one true wish. They serve children between the ages of 2 ½ and 18 at the time of referral.
The first Make-A-Wish organization was started in Arizona in 1980. The North Dakota chapter was started in 1985 by Jerry Novacek, Kevin Reitz, and Diane Weickert. The organization’s office is headquartered in Fargo but serves the entire state of North Dakota. Make-A-Wish North Dakota relies on a network of over 180 volunteers to make wishes come true in each area of the state.
“Since our inception, Make-A-Wish North Dakota has granted more than 780 wishes to children throughout the state,” Tara Ekren, Director of Communications at Make-A-Wish North Dakota, said.
During their last fiscal year, Make-A-Wish North Dakota granted 41 wishes to children across North Dakota.
“It is estimated that at least 50 children in North Dakota are diagnosed with a life-threatening medical condition each year. Our vision is to reach every eligible child,” Ekren stated.
Make-A-Wish relies on generous contributions from individual donors, corporations and other organizations to grant wishes. All of the money that is raised here in North Dakota stays here and is used to grant wishes to children from North Dakota.
“I’m so excited and happy I got my wish. I can’t believe it,” Jiry said.
Ekren explained that a wish is much more than just something that’s nice to have. The wish experience can be a real game changer for wish kids. The wish gives the wish child something to look forward to, gives them excitement and hope.
The Rosecrans family would like to thank the bus barn for coordinating the bus to allow more kids to be able to attend the Make A Wish Reveal Party for Jiry.
“We really appreciate all of the extra work they did to help with transportation,” Rosecrans said.
“We appreciate all the prayers, prayer groups and keeping positive for Jiry. Be Jiry strong everyone,” Rosecrans added.