CNN - WOLF BLITZER
Wolf Blitzer: Fighting cancer can be an emotional and financial drain and when the victim is a child, the problems are only compounded. But, there are lessons to be learned from one family and their unique approach to their son's illness. Brian Todd is joining us live with their story. Brian!
Brian: Wolf, some...sometimes when people are at the end of their rope in these situations, you hear horror stories, but we found out about one family who got creative and got help. Upbeat chatter before surgery.
Dr. Hrayr Shahinian: So, are you ready?
Tiffini Dingman-Grover (Mom): We're ready.
David Dingman-Grover: I'm ready.
Brian: A hug from grandpa.
David: See you later.
Grandpa: Okay girl.
David: Ha, ha, ha....scare me.
Brian: Nine-year-old David Dingman-Grover and his mom would be more worried before major brain surgery. But getting here was more of a concern. For nearly two years since being diagnosed with a brain tumor, David's been through chemotherapy, radiation. Oncologists were able to shrink the tumor, but didn't get all of it. His parents, a mid-manager for a computer company and a part-time bookkeeper say the added costs beyond what insurance pays have put a huge financial strain on them.
Tiffini: Going to Toys-R-Us isn't something that's normal, because you don't have that kind of money.
Brian: But rather than curse their luck, this family got creative. David nicknamed his tumor, "Frank."
David: He's named "Frank" 'cause Frankenstein used to scare me...scare me when I was little.
Brian: His parents took that and ran right to Ebay, creating a 'Frank Must Die' bumper sticker and putting it up for auction.
Tiffini: Why wouldn't they want to help pay so a child might have a chance at a normal life. So that's when I put the bumper sticker up.
Brian: The family is also auctioning off other items. David's mother says the bumper sticker auction got tens-of-thousands of hits and the winning bid was 10,700 dollars. The family had already been in contact with this man, Dr. Hrayr Shahinian of the Skull Base Institute at CS Medical Center in Los Angeles. A pioneer in a bold new surgery, Dr. Shahinian waived his fee of up to 30,000 dollars for the procedure, when he heard of the Ebay auction.
Dr. Shahinian: There is a rule for surgery here...a...to...as...as...a...David is eager to say to kill "Frank." So there is a surgical plan to kill "Frank," and there is an oncologic plan to kill "Frank."
Brian: On Wednesday, the search and destroy mission began. Dr. Shahinian's technique: going through the nostrils with a fibro-optic probe rather than the traditional method of peeling back the face and lifting the skull. David's tumor was at a very hard place to reach - at the base of the brain, under the optic nerve, surrounded by three important vessels. The operation took 90 minutes. Dr. Shahinian tells CNN, even though he was just doing a biopsy, he removed a substantial part of "Frank," but there could be microscopic bits of it in other areas. Still, David came out of the operation in stable condition. And we're happy to report David Dingman-Grover was released from Cedar Sinai earlier today. He is due back to travel back home to Virginia this weekend. Ah...results of this operation could come as early as tomorrow. Dr. Shahinian will find out if the tumor is dead, or if there are other active cells left. The doctor tells CNN David's short-term prognosis is excellent. Long term? They have to wait and see what's still in there. Wolf.
Wolf: Let's hope he gets a speedy recovery...a full recovery. Good work. Thanks very much, Brian