A Tumor to Live and Grow With

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Emily Staggs is excited to add Dayton Children's ambassador to her list of activities.

“I am hoping that I could just let kids know that I understand what they’re going through,” the 13-year-old says.

“I just want to tell kids to not be scared to tell your parents or an adult about adult things.”

Emily’s story begins when she returned from cheerleading practice. She felt ill and her mother, Betty, called the doctor right away. After some tests, doctors found a tumor on Emily’s pituitary gland.

Emily was referred to Dayton Children’s, where she was treated by Laurence Kleiner, MD, and Paul Breyer, MD. Kleiner performed surgery on the tumor and determined that the adenoma was benign, but inoperable.

A pituitary adenoma is a non-spreading growth on the pituitary gland—a gland that controls nearly every part of the body. So far, the adenoma has not caused any problems and is being treated with medication, routine blood work, echocardiograms and MRIs.

Emily is currently a 13-year-old seventh grader at East Dayton Christian School and lives in Fairborn. She loves math, health and science and won first place at her sixth grade science fair in the life science category.

Outside of school, Emily is taking tumbling lessons at Premier Athletics: Storm, and she enjoys reading and hanging out with her best friend. She also hopes to one day become a pediatrician—a dream she had before she was diagnosed with the adenoma.

“I have no doubt I’ll be in the pediatric field in some way,” says Emily.  

Emily’s parents are impressed with the care their family received from Dayton Children’s.

“Dr. Kleiner took the time to pray with our family after the surgery and one nurse stopped by to give me a reassuring hug,” says Betty.

“He even kept in touch with Emily and said she should feel free to contact him at any time.”

“Through it all, everyone—doctors, nurses, residents and support staff—has just been top notch,” says Emily’s father, Thomas.

Emily’s favorite parts about her hospital visits have been the friendly staff, the food in the cafeteria and the MRIs.

“They give you warm blankets and you have movie choices,” she says.

“I was very relieved to see movie choices other than Winnie the Pooh and Finding Nemo. It was just so much fun and everyone made it really comfortable for me.”



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