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7-year-old girl with brain tumor ‘enlists’ in Navy before chemo treatment

Sailors aboard the guided-missile destroyer USS Halsey (DDG 97) salute an Indian navy ship as Halsey prepares to pull into Chennai, India. Halsey is on a deployment to the Indian Ocean. (U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist 3rd Class Christopher Farrington/Released) Join the conversation
July 28, 2019

A seven-year-old girl facing a life-threatening brain tumor had her wish granted and became “enlisted” in the Navy ahead of a rigorous chemotherapy journey.

Tabitha Nye has a cancerous brain tumor and is about to undergo 15 months of aggressive chemotherapy, but first, her dream of joining the Navy was fulfilled in a special mock enlistment ceremony earlier this month, Military Times reported.

For the past four years, Tabitha has dreamt of joining the Navy. She always found a special place in her heart for the Navy because she really likes their planes, according to her mother.

Tabitha’s mother, Melinda Nye, who served as a hospital corpsman in the Navy, said, “Tabitha loved the Navy from the time she was little. Her dream from the age of 3 was to join the Navy.”

She added that Tabitha “goes to the Cleveland Air Show every year, it comes on her birthday weekend.” Tabitha says the planes “come just for her birthday.”

Tabitha’s cancer journey began when she was five years old and had trouble seeing the board in her classroom. Her parents took her to the doctor, who found swelling behind her eyes.

The tumor was soon discovered after an MRI and Tabitha had to have emergency surgery to ease the pressure. However, doctors were unable to biopsy the tumor during the surgery and it remained untouched for almost two years.

Tabitha has endured physical and occupational therapy, along with several surgeries during the past two years.

Tabitha’s parents noticed a change in her behavior and said it seemed like she wasn’t responding as well to her medication. Doctors ordered an MRI, which showed in January that the tumor is growing, and prompted doctors to order the 15-month chemotherapy regimen.

Prior to the onset of the chemotherapy, Tabitha will undergo surgery to remove as much of the growing tumor as possible.

Her latest surgery was last week on July 23 where a medical port was installed to make it easier for Tabitha to endure the weekly intravenous chemotherapy treatments.

When the Cleveland Heights Navy recruiting office found out the little girl was about to complete the long stint of chemotherapy, they held the mock enlistment for her on June 26.

Melinda Nye asked on Facebook, “If anyone has time and could send her some words of encouragement, we would be forever grateful,” and included the family’s address below:

Tabitha Nye
P.O. BOX 27
Perry, Ohio 44081-0027

Tabitha has a website on CaringBridge, which is a social network specifically geared to provide updates on a patient’s health.

A GoFundMe has also been set up to help the Nye family.