San Diego

12-Year-Old Finishes Proton Treatment for Rare Brain Tumor

Doctors first told the young girl and her parents she had a slim chance at life.

A 12-year-old girl from a small Nebraska town marked an important moment in her fight against a rare brain tumor Tuesday. 

Izabella Voelker came to San Diego's Rady Children's Hospital two months ago to undergo Proton Therapy treatment to fight a rare brain tumor, seen in only one percent of children. 

Doctors first told her and her parents she had a slim chance at life, but with her incredible strength, she's beaten the odds. 

"There was only a five percent chance of survival through the second surgery," Izabella said. "I was like, I'm not afraid to die. Actually, I wrote my will out because I'm a planner. I wrote my will out and planned my funeral."

What started as elbow pain was later discovered to be fluid in her brain. The 12-year-old has had three surgeries and came to San Diego to undergo proton therapy, a series of 30 treatments. 

The proton therapy here precisely targets tumors instead of exposing the rest of the body to radiation.

While in San Diego, she visited SeaWorld and fell in love with the Killer Whales. 

Tuesday, she rang the bell at Rady Children's, indicating this part of her treatment is over. 

"I like it here," she said. "It's a nice place to be having treatment, but I miss home and I miss my siblings and I miss my friends."

Now, she returns to Nebraska to continue her chemotherapy. 

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