NORTHVALE, N.J. – In less than a month, more than $100,000 has been raised to help a 7-year-old Northvale girl fight a rare and life-threatening form of brain cancer.
In April, Vivienne Knopp was diagnosed with Diffuse Intrinsic Pontine Glioma (DIPG) – an inoperable brain tumor found in the area of the brain stem responsible for controlling bodily functions such as heartbeat, breathing, swallowing, eyesight and balance.
“The tumor is so aggressive that if surgery was possible, any remaining cells post-operation would continue to multiply and the mass would return,” Thomas Panarese wrote on a GoFundMe page created to raise funds for Vivienne’s treatment.
By Monday afternoon, the page had garnered more than $103,000 in donations for Vivienne, described as “a smart, funny, strong and energetic little girl who always has a huge smile on her face.”
Vivienne’s aunt, Katie LaTour, said the donations have helped the little girl’s parents get her the best treatment possible.
Vivienne is undergoing treatment in Texas, where there has been some success in curing patients with DIPG, she said. But insurance does not cover the treatment, and all expenses must be paid up front, she said.
The family is “grateful beyond words,” for the support they have received so far, she said.
“You have given them the ability to swiftly get Vivienne the best medications and treatment possible,” LaTour said. “John and Giulia agonize at the thought of other parents in a similar situation who do not have such an amazing support system that they have been surrounded with. They are so grateful for your continued support as they go through this with Vivienne.”