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Graham Finneran

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On Christmas Day of 2021, Graham and his family were visiting family out of state for the holidays. It had been five years since all of the family had been together for Christmas - so to say everyone was excited was an understatement. That is why his parents knew something was wrong when Christmas morning came around, and Graham, a busy two-and-a-half-year-old, woke up not acting like himself.

He refused to eat, didn't want to open presents, and just wanted to go back to sleep. Because their little family of 4 had only arrived at Graham's grandparent's house the afternoon before, they wondered if Graham was just exhausted from the 5-hour trip from their home in North Carolina, so they let him go back to sleep... After a 2 hour nap, Graham's mom, Abbie, was starting to get nervous and knew in her mama gut that something was wrong. When Abbie went to wake him up from the unusual morning nap, she knew that their world was forever changed.

Upon waking him up from his nap Graham, who was a little crazy climbing and running toddler was unable to walk. Abbie immediately yelled for her husband, Andrew, who helped rush Graham to the nearest ER. They were in such a rush that they forgot diapers and wipes and barely had time to kiss their beautiful then 6-month-old little girl, Kennedy, goodbye.

At the hospital, they eventually found the golf ball-sized tumor in the middle of Graham's brain, which would later be diagnosed as Low-Grade Glioma, and life-flighted Graham and his parents to Children's National Medical Center. This is where Graham, his mom Abbie, and his dad Andrew would spend the rest of Christmas and many more holidays while Graham underwent surgery to remove about 30% of the tumor only days after the diagnosis and dealt with all the complications that resulted from that surgery.

Eventually, they were reunited with their sweet Kennedy and transferred home to UNC Children's, where Graham continues to get treatment! Abbie says, "I feel blessed to write this, almost a year since starting that chemo, it seems to be doing its job and is keeping the tumor stable. He has his next scan in about two weeks, so all the prayers and good vibes are appreciated because the scan-xiety is so real."

Date of Diagnosis:
December 25, 2021

Age at Diagnosis:
2 years old

Age Now:
4 years old

Type of Brain Cancer:
Low-Grade Glioma

Summary of Treatment:
-Brain Surgery
-Mekinist Oral Chemo
-Monthly Echocardiograms
-Monthly Eye Exams
-Weekly OT/PT/Speech
-Regular MRI Scans

“Graham loves telling jokes. They say laughter is some of the best medicine, so we have leaned into humor and jokes since finding Graham’s tumor. His current favorite is “How does the ocean say hi? It waves”. I want to live in a world where Graham, and other kids like him, are able to learn and tell new jokes simply because they’re funny, not because they need a distraction from the pain and pokes they’re enduring. ”
-Abbie, Graham's mama

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