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June 29, 2013

Community rallies around Lawrence boy diagnosed with cancer

LAWRENCE — Sitting on a blue Adirondack chair, Daymien Rios , 3, holds his mother’s index finger as he watches cartoons on TV.

Minutes later, he jumps on her lap and she caresses his face as the two talk about his love for Iron Man, riding his scooter, playing games on his iPad, and visiting the zoo. He is looking forward to getting a dog and going to Disney World.

But, Daymien and his family are facing a great challenge.

On June 4, doctors diagnosed him with pontine gliomas - a tumor on the brain stem.

“I was in disbelief,” Daymien’s mother, Tasia Hinton said. “It just didn’t seem real because it happened so fast.”

Hinton said he was born Sept. 24, 2009, at 7 pounds, 4-ounces with no health problems. But a teacher at the Child Care Center, which is run by Greater Lawrence Community Action Council, Inc., noticed Daymien had a lazy eye.

Hinton became concerned and took him to his primary care doctor, who suggested he see an ophthalmologist. The eye specialist sent Daymien to a neurologist, who ordered him to get an MRI.

“I had no idea,” Hinton said. “The first thing I thought of was that he needed glasses. It is obviously very hard. I never thought in a million years that it would happen to him.”

After the MRI, and the diagnosis, Daymien stayed at Tufts Medical Center for two weeks. During this time, he was visited by Red Sox pitchers Craig Breslow and Andrew Bailey and Cassadee Pope from The Voice 2013.

“The hospital was really rough because we were seeing new doctors and he had to have so many different tests,” said Hinton, a Lawrence native. She lived in Salem, N.H., for several years and graduated from Salem High School in 2007, before returning to Lawrence.

According to the St. Jude’s Children Research Hospital’s website, tumors affect the cranial nerves, causing symptoms such as double vision, inability to close the eyelids completely, drooping on one side of the face, weakness of the arms or legs and difficulty with speech and walking.

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