HIGH POINT, Mo. — A fundraiser for a family who stopped at nothing to save their daughter will be Saturday, March 16.
Josie Wyrick has lived in the High Point area all her life. When her 1-year-old daughter, Melanie, became uncommonly ill, Wyrick and Melanie's parents — Ronnie Bradshaw, William Henley and Ashley Sheats — took the child to multiple doctors for over two months.
At first, the diagnosis included a virus or acid reflux. But her health didn't improve, and the family was persistent in its pursuit for help.
"By that time, we were kind of at our wits' end with it," Wyrick said. "I had taken her to doctor after doctor, wanting to know why she's still getting sick."
She said her daughter was crying, off-balance and throwing up all the time. After Christmas, a CT scan at Women's and Children's Hospital in Columbia found a mass just larger than a golf ball on Melanie's brain.
The day after her second birthday, she had surgery to remove the astrocytoma brain tumor, which is a cancerous type of glioma in children.
The first surgery removed 95 percent of the tumor and found the flow of spinal fluid to her brain causing pressure. Two additional surgeries were needed to fix the blockage and remove the remainder of the tumor.
"It felt like a nightmare when she was in the hospital," Wyrick said. "They would try one thing to get the pressure off of her head, and it would work for a couple days — and then it would just go bad."
She said it was the hardest thing she's ever done. She quit her job to care for Melanie as much as she could.
The High Point community has organized a benefit to support the family. High Point School staff members Yolanda Fisher and Robin Eidson are organizing and collecting auction items.
"She has a long road ahead of her recovery," Eidson said.
A chili and hot dog dinner will begin at 5 p.m. March 16 at 60909 Highway C, and an auction will follow. The dinner is donation only.
Some auction items include a riding lawn mower, tickets to area restaurants like Heifers Steakhouse & Eatery, oil change certificates for High Point Repair and Lloyd Belt Automotive, quilts from Osage Bluff Quilter and more.
More auction or dinner items can be dropped off before 1 p.m. Friday, March 15, at the school or Head Start in Eldon. Monetary donations can be taken to Community Point Bank in Russellville for The Benefit of Melanie Wyrick.
Wyrick said she was amazed at how much community support the family has received.
"I don't think I can say thank you enough to anyone for how much love and support and prayer we've received," she added.
She said Melanie is doing a lot better, although she got used to having her way in the hospital. She will continue to have MRIs to scan for tumors as well as speech and physical therapy. Doctors are also monitoring her hand-eye coordination.
Wyrick said she is thankful she didn't stop asking questions.
"We would have never found her tumor if we hadn't kept pushing," Wyrick said. "You are your children's voice — you are their biggest advocate when they're sick."