A brain tumor robbed a young Hawaiian girl of her eyesight – then it returned, sending her family scrambling for answers and bringing them thousands of miles away to Michigan.
“Six years ago (we) found a golf ball sized brain tumor,” said Matthew Charbonneau, 8-year-old Auriana's dad.
Surgeons in Hawaii performed emergency brain surgery and removed as much of the then 2-year-old's tumor as possible.
Now at 8 years old, what's left of Auriana's tumor started growing. Her father Matthew, a carpenter, felt helpless.
"Its not just something I'm capable of fixing," Matthew said. "I can do other hands on fixing of the house or cars… but my daughter.. there’s nothing I can do but talk to the professionals."
This led the family to Beaumont's Proton Therapy Center in Royal Oak, some 4,300 miles away from their home.
Doctor Prakash Chinnaiyan said Auriana's brain tumor was a perfect fit for proton treatment, which unlike conventional radiation, isn't absorbed outside of the treatment area.
The treatment was also perfect for Auriana's dad, who was born in Oakland County.