LEBANON, Ill. (WSVN) — A high school student is using her summer break to spend as much time as she can with her younger sister, and organizing a big yard sale.
But instead of spending those earnings on herself, 15-year-old Elizabeth Cook will be setting aside those funds for a heartbreaking purpose: her little sister Katherine’s funeral costs.
“Well, apparently funerals cost a lot, and we don’t have $1,200 — I mean $12,000 — to just shell out,” Elizabeth told the Belleville News-Democrat. “So we were also doing a bake sale, we are going to make a GoFundMe page.”
The 11-year-old was first diagnosed with a fast-growing brain tumor called medulloblastoma in 2015, the paper reports.
After nearly two years of surgeries, radiation, and chemotherapy, doctors told the family in May there was nothing more they could do for her, as the aggressive brain tumors have rapidly deteriorated the once-vibrant child.
As recently as February, Katherine’s brain scans were clean. But by May, the original tumor was back, and her mother Victoria said it “brought a lot of friends.”
That’s when doctors told her Katherine had just a few months to live.
It’s been a painful journey for her sister, since the two have always shared a close bond.
“I was just scared that this was going to happen — they told us, ‘Oh, it’s going to be an easy year,’” Elizabeth said of the first diagnosis in 2015. “And then (the tumors) came back… And now it’s like, ‘There’s nothing left we can do.’”
A hospice nurse now visits their home to help take care of Katherine, who can no longer swallow food and spends her days in a hospital bed in the family’s living room, according to the Belleville News-Democrat.
The family has created a GoFundMe page to help cover the costs of Katherine’s funeral. To donate, click here.
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