CORTLAND, Ohio (WKBN) – Over the past couple of years, we’ve been following the story of Brielle Butler, a 3-year-old girl in Cortland who spent the past two years battling a rare form of cancer, all during the pandemic.
Now, Brielle is a feisty toddler getting ready to start preschool. It’s hard to believe it’s only been a year since she rang the bell at Akron Children’s Hospital, marking the end of her chemotherapy treatments.
September is Histiocytosis Awareness Month. A blue ribbon marks the movement to raise awareness for this rare form of cancer. The theme is “I know Histio.”
That’s something the Butler family knows all too well. Histiocytic disorders are a group of diseases that occur when there is an over-production of white blood cells known as histiocytes that can lead to organ damage and tumor formation.
In Brielle’s case, tumors formed on her head. After two years of weekly doctor visits and chemotherapy, Brielle is now in remission. Soon she could be classified as cured if she can go five years with a clean MRI.
“I try not to worry. I read online about other kids and some that relapse, but her scans have been clear and we have our toddler back. I feel like we spent the last two years with medicine and doctors visits and now we can really enjoy her and we do,” said Brielle’s mother Rachel Butler.
Brielle enjoys jumping on her trampoline with sister Caylynn and brother Xavier. Train rides at the mall get her excited, and mom and dad Rachel and Tony Butler are now chasing around a very active little girl.
“We are potty training and she is doing great! She is a handful now and it’s good. When she takes a nap, we get a little break,” Rachel laughs.
Brielle gets an MRI every year. Her next one is later this month. She also gets oncology tests quarterly. Later, those could go down to every six months and then by 2024, they will go down to once a year. When she has gone five years without a relapse, she will be considered cured.
While Brielle’s medical condition is always in the back of Rachel and Tony’s minds, they are enjoying their young family and looking forward to Brielle’s next big milestone–preschool, and her assessments have all been good.
Brielle will celebrate her fourth birthday Oct. 10.