Braden Patrick Miller, affectionately known as “Buddy,” touched many hearts during his courageous 21-month battle with brain cancer. The young warrior was diagnosed with Diffuse Intrinsic Pontine Glioma (DIPG), a rare form of pediatric cancer, in January of 2017.
DIPG is an inoperable brain tumor with very limited treatment options in the U.S. Brain tumors remain the most common cause of cancer-related death in children, and DIPG is the leading cause of death from pediatric brain tumors. Nearly 400 new cases of DIPG are diagnosed each year in the U.S., most commonly in children 4-11 years of age. Overall, the survival rate is less than one percent.
Buddy was a miracle in the making. He saw outstanding results from intra-arterial and immunotherapy treatments at Angeles Hospital in Monterrey, Mexico. These treatments are not currently available in the U.S. and the medical expenses of $17,000 to $33,000 per visit are self-pay, with no insurance reimbursement. Buddy and his family created a repeatable care path that other DIPG-diagnosed children can follow.
Life would never be the same
In early October 2018, brain swell as a result of tumor pressure began to cause constriction of Buddy’s ventricles. The fluid build up and lack of drainage resulted in seizures. Surgery to release the pressure was not a viable option and nonsurgical treatments could not open the ventricles. As a result, Braden drifted off with the angels above through the gates of heaven on October 19 at 12:37 a.m. He is now our heavenly angel, watching over us as we had done for him.
To honor Buddy’s memory, his family established the Team Buddy Forever Foundation, a nonprofit organization dedicated to funding momentum for change by increasing DIPG awareness, supporting advocacy and research, and assisting families of children diagnosed with DIPG through financial support and networking resources to seek treatment options globally during a traumatic period of their lives.