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There is no news worse than finding out your child has cancer. And yet, over the summer, that was exactly the diagnosis that 3-year-old Adalyn McGuire’s parents received.

According to the doctors, the little girl has diffuse intrinsic pontine glioma (DIPG), an aggressive brain tumor that cannot easily be treated without the use of radiation and experimental chemotherapy.

According to recent data, around 300 U.S. children are diagnosed with DIPG every year. The condition most often appears in children between the ages of 5 and 9 and for the most part, the prognosis is rarely positive.

Adalyn’s parents, Stephanie and Andrew McGuire, first started noticing some of the symptoms their little girl was exhibiting in March 2022. As Stephanie recalled during an interview with, their daughter had slowly started complaining about her head hurting. She had also started losing her balance and one morning she did not even have the energy to stand up. Another symptom they noticed was that Adalyn was unable to move her right eye.

This is what had caused them to seek a neuro-oncologist who diagnosed Adalyn with cancer only a few weeks before her little sister, and the couple’s third daughter was born on July 30, 2022.

Stephanie recalled that after being told of the diagnosis, she had felt numb. Adalyn started treatment immediately and stayed in the intensive care unit for three days. During that time she took 30 rounds of radiation in six weeks. Adalyn lost some of her hair, and with the treatment had ended in August the family’s only option now was to spend every day making it count.

Stephanie said that at home, they try not to spend their time and focus on the prognosis. With her fourth birthday being on March 31 though, the family wanted her to experience a fourth birthday party, even if she never made it to her next birthday.

This is what made them connect with Tanya Sturm, the founder of Dreams & Wishes of Tennessee, whose organization is focused on granting wishes to children and young adults who have cancer.

Adalyn’s list included some very important guests Princesses Elsa and Anna and Olaf the Snowman from Disney’s “Frozen.”And this was exactly the party she got, through the help of donations online made for her birthday.


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