Local teenager, Auburn Banks (15), was diagnosed Saturday, December 11th with an inoperable Diffuse Intrinsic Pontine Gliomas (DIPG) Brain Stem Tumor. This type of tumor is rare, with only 200-300 cases diagnosed each year in children in the United States. DIPG are highly aggressive and difficult to treat brain tumors found at the base of the brain. They are glial tumors, meaning they arise from the brain’s glial tissue — tissue made up of cells that help support and protect the brain’s neurons.
While Auburn’s faith in her recovery is high as she has already beaten the odds of being born with Turner Syndrome (2% of babies with Turner’s survive to birth), her parents Amanda and Doug would like to sustain her positive attitude by asking the community to write letters, send cards or small notes of encouragement to their daughter. The family has established a PO Box and ask that all letters stay uplifting as her mantra is, “God’s not done with me yet.”
Auburn has been an involved resident of New Bern and surrounding communities – including participating as an elf during the holiday season’s Beary Merry Christmas that her mother, Amanda spearheads every year in downtown. After eight years of competitive cheerleading, she recently watched her teammates from Washington Elite Allstars compete in their first competition of the season from her hospital room.
“It was really hard for her to watch from UNC Hospital and not be a part of it. There were tears, but we have never been so proud of our daughter for her grit and resilience in this battle. It’s our job as her parents to always keep her thinking positive – and this mail will help just that,” says Amanda.
Radiation treatments began the week after Christmas and will continue for approximately four more weeks. The family’s hope is for Auburn to be entered in a clinical trial upon completion of radiation. When Auburn was first diagnosed, a Facebook group was created called, “Auburn’s Army” and within a few short weeks has grown to over 1,300 members where Auburn’s parents and sometimes Auburn herself, will make updates. Members are encouraged to post daily messages of encouragement to Auburn and her family while they continue the fight.
Letters, cards, notes and more can be sent to:
PO BOX 772
Bridgeton, NC 28519
Submitted by Taylor Shannon