Elijah’s Fight: Boy, 5, standing tall against brain cancer

Updated: May. 29, 2020 at 9:58 AM CDT
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BOSSIER PARISH, La. (KSLA) - Imagine doctors telling you your child has an inoperable brain tumor. One Bossier Parish family is living that nightmare and they are doing this all while trying to stay safe from COVID-19.

Little Elijah is standing tall against brain cancer.

Twins Elijah and Ethan are just like any other little boys.

Elijah & Ethan (5)
Elijah & Ethan (5)(Christine Gillespie)

They like trucks and they love to play outside and get dirty. Shortly after the boys turned four last May, family members noticed one of Elijah’s eyes turning inward. Soon after, Michael and Christine Gillispie said their little boy started having bouts of vomiting and losing his balance.

Elijah Gillispie, 5
Elijah Gillispie, 5(Christine Gillispie)

After several tests, a CAT scan, and an MRI, the family received devastating news.

Elijah has an inoperable brain tumor called Diffuse Intrinsic Pontine Glioma or DIP-G. They are incurable brain stem tumors that strike hundreds of children a year in the U.S.

According to St. Jude Research Hospital, current treatments of radiation and chemotherapy are largely ineffective, and fewer than 10 percent of children with the tumors survive more than two years.

Elijah Gillispie, 5
Elijah Gillispie, 5(Christine Gillispie)

Shortly after Elijah’s diagnosis, the Gillispies went to St. Jude to begin six weeks of intense radiation and then started a clinical trial involving an oral chemo. By December, another MRI revealed more heartbreaking news. “It showed a 44% increase in tumor size and the tumor started bleeding on the inside," according to Christine.

Elijah Gilliespie, 5
Elijah Gilliespie, 5(Christine Gilliespie)

The family was sent home for hospice care and told there was nothing else doctors could do. “I said we are going to go up the prayer warriors. He’s got this is our Motto.”

Christine and Michael thanked all of the people who have prayed for their little boy. They said the prayers have really helped them through some tough times.

Gillispie Family
Gillispie Family(Christine Gillispie)

Last June, doctors told the family if they did nothing, at best, Elijah would live 4 months and with treatment it would be 9 months. However in February, there was a bit of hope.

“They brought us back in February and they did another MRI and it showed it shrink a little bit.” The Gillispies are holding on to their faith that Elijah will beat this cancer.

Elijah Gillispie, 5
Elijah Gillispie, 5(Christine Gillispie)

He has already defeated the odds.

June will make one year since Elijah’s diagnosis. The family will visit St. Jude again in a couple of months to see his progress. Those visits take them away from home as the bills keep rolling in. Family and friends have set up a fundraising page to help with any costs.

You can join Team Elijah and help with fundraising efforts. The family has also set up a Team Elijah Facebook page as well.

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