Community Celebrates Surfer Teen with Brain Tumor

Over a dozen people gathered in Del Mar to help fundraise and celebrate the life of a young girl diagnosed with cancer.

Kira Stanley, a junior at La Costa Canyon High School and surf instructor in Encinitas, was diagnosed with a form of brain cancer called Diffuse Intrinsic Pontine Glioma (DIPG) on Nov. 9, 2017, her father, Robert Stanley, told NBC 7.

The fundraiser called, “Help Kira Fight Cancer” is the second fundraiser the family hosts. The fundraising event started off with a surfing competition at Moonlight Beach, and concluded at Flower Child in Del Mar.

“It's kind of intimidating, there is a lot of people I don’t know and people I do know supporting me and its really nice,” said Kira Stanely.

Kira Stanley Surfer

At first, Kira's family thought her symptoms were just vision problems.

“It started as double vision, which we thought was her eyesight since she had astigmatism,” her father wrote on a GoFundMe page set up to assist the family with medical costs. “We figured she needed to update her prescription and visited the optometrist.”

After several failed diagnoses and trips to the emergency room, an MRI revealed a tumor inside her brain stem, Robert said.

Kira is currently doing radiation treatment at UC San Diego Hospital and is currently in her fifth treatment with 20 more to go, according to Robert.

Medical treatment costs the family $20,000 to $35,000 every three weeks. The fundraiser is meant to raise money for the costs.

“Last year we fundraised $70,000. We fly out of the county and get treatments, the insurance doesn’t cover and there is no way we’d be able to cover that cost without the support of others,” Robert said.

Kira has received widespread support from the community. The GoFundMepage created on her behalf continues to receive donations since starting over a year ago.

Last year, about 800 people had registered for the fundraiser and professional surfer Kelly Slater, who is Kira's surf hero, attended and donated items for the silent auction.

Kira Stanley and Kelly Slater

“My message for people attending is that I love you, and thank you,” said Kira.

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