CORTLAND, Ohio (WKBN) – A little girl from Cortland battling cancer embodies the meaning of “small, but mighty.”
Brielle Butler isn’t even a year old, but she’s already fighting a tough battle.
“The first thing that doctor said was, ‘That bump should not be there’ and ‘I’ve never seen anything like that before,'” said Rachel Butler, Brielle’s mom.
After puss was coming out of her ears and bumps were forming on her head, Brielle’s mother wanted answers.
Those answers came in April when Brielle was just 6 months old — a day Rachel remembers as shocking and emotional.
“I was taking her to the hospital for what I thought was ear infections and I left with an oncology appointment,” she said.
Little Brielle was diagnosed with Langerhans Cell Histiocytosis. It’s a very rare type of cancer that caused tumors on Brielle’s skull and rashes on her skin.
It was an overwhelming thought for this family because their daughter was so young.
“She’s our baby and she’s only 6 months old,” Rachel said. “I feel so bad because she can’t tell me if it hurts or how she feels. She can only express herself by crying at this age.”
But Rachel said it’s also a blessing that Brielle is so young.
“She won’t remember this. So she doesn’t know that things aren’t supposed to be this way.”
Brielle gets chemotherapy every three weeks, which will continue for a year. The treatment has shrunk the tumors and the cancer did not spread.
Xavier, 10, said it’s scary to watch his little sister battle so much, but he knows she can fight it.
“I hope that with all this disease, that it doesn’t hold her back from doing other things that she wants to achieve.”
The whole family stands on what they call “Team Brielle.”
“It means my baby sister, Brielle, it means her fighting through this disease that she never chose to have,” Xavier said.
“I am her advocate,” Rachel said. “It’s like, the most important thing right now.”
Even though she’s too young to know it, they call Brielle a little warrior.
“Sometimes I’ll refer to her as our hero because she is just facing so much and she doesn’t even know it,” Rachel said. “And she’s handling it so well.”
Brielle turns 1 next week.
You can follow her journey on Facebook.