Jiry Rosecrans, is a sweet, well-spoken, positive 11-year-old girl. She loves volleyball, figure skating, arts and crafts, and math.
Nearly two years ago, Jiry was diagnosed with craniopharyngioma, a rare brain tumor that develops before a child is even born. “I knew there was something wrong from birth until she was diagnosed,” says Jiry’s mom, Bridget. “She had lots of medical problems – vision issues, headaches, strange pains in her body, flashes of light … but nobody could figure out what it was.”
They finally found the answer on May 4, 2015. Bridget says it has been a whirlwind ever since, with a brain surgery soon after diagnosis and treatments that have required them to spend extended periods of time away from home. One of the treatments was a nine-week stint in a hyperbaric chamber at Mayo Clinic, done because Jiry was going blind. This 100 percent oxygen-filled chamber forces oxygen into the bloodstream to promote healing. “It saved my eyesight,” Jiry says.
In addition to the treatments, staying in motels and eating in hospital cafeterias and restaurants for four, six, and nine weeks at a time really puts a financial strain on a family. And sometimes, when you think nothing else can go wrong, it does. “When we were at Mayo for one of Jiry’s treatments, I ran over a nail and it got into the sidewall of my tire,” Bridget says. “I was wondering how in the world I was going to pay for these new tires, because the person at the repair shop told me I had to buy all four or it would ruin the transmission.”
Then Brave the Shave stepped in. “They called and said, ‘Go get those tires. We want to make sure you get to Jiry’s treatments safely,’” Bridget says. “Brave the Shave has also helped us with motel stays and gas cards. I can’t even begin to say how much it has helped us. It allows us to focus on our child rather than sitting at the table trying to figure out how we’re going to scramble up enough money to get to the next doctor appointment or figure out how we’re going to pay for the next nine-week motel stay. Brave the Shave has truly been a Godsend for our family.”
In addition to creating “Team Jiry” to participate in the head-shaving festivities, she will also be bringing several containers filled with change to the event. She and fellow honoree, 8-year-old John Freer, have placed the containers in businesses across their hometown of Langdon, ND, encouraging patrons to drop in their spare change to support Brave the Shave and its efforts to fight childhood cancer through family support and research.
She is also encouraging people, whether they attend the event or not, to donate their hair to Children with Hair Loss, an organization that provides wigs to children dealing with medical-related hair loss at no charge. This is a cause near and dear to Jiry’s heart, and she donated her own hair several times prior to her own diagnosis.
Jiry and Bridget are looking forward to attending Brave the Shave’s flagship event in Bismarck on March 10, and they invite you to come, too.