A Go Fund Me campaign has been established to assist the Hight family with Rowan’s medical expenses and the cost of traveling to and from UC Davis Medical Center.
The Mount Shasta community is coming together to support the family of 14 year-old Sisson eighth grader Rowan Hight, who recently learned he has a tumor growing on his rib cage, pressing against his heart and lungs.
A March 18 surgery has been scheduled to remove the tumor, although it’s not known at this point if the tumor is malignant, said Rowan’s father, Dana.
A Go Fund Me campaign has been established to assist the Hight family with Rowan’s medical expenses and the cost of traveling to and from UC Davis Medical Center. Dana is a logging truck driver and equipment operator for Caltrans on disability leave due to a shoulder injury and degenerative disc disease and Rowan’s mother, Nora, just cut back her hours at Mercy Medical Center Mt. Shasta to begin nursing school.
The decision to remove the tumor was a difficult one, Dana said, because the results of an initial biopsy came back inconclusive, without enough live cells to test to get a clear picture.
“The live cells they have are nothing they have seen before, so this gives (doctors) concern,” Dana said.
Rowan, a friendly and active teenager who plays flag football and throws the shot put and discus for Sisson’s Track and Field team, had to decide if he’d rather have doctors try another biopsy and risk them once again not getting an adequate sample, or to schedule surgery to have the tumor removed.
After much consideration, the Hights opted to schedule surgery, although there is a risk that a second surgery will be needed if doctors aren’t able to remove all of the baseball-sized mass on his left side, as well as a smaller connected mass on his right side, Dana said.
There is also a chance the surgery could get complicated if the mass is connected to an organ and because of the high concentration of lymph nodes in the area.
Once it is removed and biopsied, the Hights will have a clearer picture of what kind of followup treatment, if any, is needed.
However, the Hights are keeping a positive attitude.
“The doctor seemed very confident that they can get this whole thing out,” Dana said. “I love this kid so much. I am so proud of how he is handling this. When asked by the surgeon as to what (he) would like to do, he simply said ... ‘I want this to be all over with.’ I will admit, I almost started to cry ... again.”
Among those who have rallied around Rowan are members of his Boy Scout Troop 97, where he’s a Second Class Rank.
While waiting for his surgery date, Dana and Nora are attempting to keep things as normal as possible for Rowan and his older sister, Laurel, a sophomore at Mount Shasta High School, although their lives have been turned upside down by this turn of events.
The tumor was discovered last month after a proactive visit with Rowan’s doctor to determine the cause of some back pain; he had decided to play on Sisson’s basketball team for the first time this year, and Rowan was experiencing soreness after practices and games, Dana said.
A small curvature in Rowan’s spine noticed during the exam prompted an x-ray to rule out scoliosis, and that is when doctors discovered the mass.
Dana said Rowan is nervous, but not afraid of the surgery.
“He doesn’t really think about it, only when he hears us or others bring it up,” said Dana. “This is why (Nora) and I say he is stronger than us, because it is on our minds daily.”
The Go Fund Me campaign has a goal of $10,000 and so far, just over $5,000 has been donated. To contribute to the campaign, to go https://bit.ly/322J1mx or to follow along with Rowan’s journey, search for “Operation BraveHeart” on Facebook.