'Frank' is Dead, doctor declares
9-year-old's operation successful
By Arlo Wagner, Washington Times
The Internet is abuzz with the news that "Frank" is dead - and no one could be more thrilled about it than 9-year-old David Dingman-Grover.
The Loudoun County boy waged an Internet campaign to kill Frank the Tumor, the name he had given to the grapefruit-sized growth that was crowding his brain.
Doctors informed David and his family late Monday that an operation to remove the growth was a complete success. Biopsy results were released yesterday.
"Frank is now dead and gone and never to return," David said during a press conference at the Willard InterContinental Washington hotel in Northwest.
The bespectacled boy wore a black T-shirt that read, "Cancer is not who I am."
David's mother, Tiffini Dingman-Grover, 32, gave Frank worldwide exposure when she created "Frank Must Die" bumper stickers and sold them on the EBay auction site.
"She put aside her own dreams, career, continuing education, goals and aspirations to take on a role Wonder Woman would shirk from," said David's father, Bryn Dingman-Grover, 47. "She is my goddess. She is my hero. And I am humbled and honored that she is my wife."
Proceeds from the bumper-sticker sales helped pay for David's operation - about $40,000 worth of medical costs not covered by the family's health insurance.
David's surgeon - Dr. Hrayr Shahinian of the Cedars-Sinai Medical Center's Skull Base Institute in Los Angeles - volunteered his services after learning about the "Frank Must Die" campaign.
Dr. Shahinian attended the press conference at the Willard, where he announced that David's biopsy showed no sign of cancer.
Doctors discovered the brain tumor in 2003 and told the Dingman-Grovers that its size and location made it nearly impossible to remove.
Radiation and chemotherapy shrank Frank to the size of a walnut, which eased David's headaches and corrected his blurred vision. But some sort of surgery was needed to eliminate the growth once and for all.
That was where Dr. Shahinian entered the picture. He offered to perform a new skull base surgery technique called endoscopy - a 90-minute procedure conducted through a patient's nose.
In conventional brain surgery, called craniotomy, surgeons must cut out a circular portion of the skull in the course of a 12-hour operation. Recovery usually requires 30 days of hospital rest.
David, who named his tumor after Frankenstein's monster, had his endoscopy on Feb. 2 and returned to his Sterling home the next day.
He turns 10 on March 4.