Anamarie Borg thought her 6-year-old daughter, Makayla, had a simple migraine headache when she took her last month to Cincinnati Children’s in Liberty Twp.
It wasn’t a simple migraine. It was cancer. And it was inoperable because of where it was on the base of her brain. That was on June 3, just three days after her summer vacation started following the 2015-16 school year at Sacred Heart.
The mother of three was without her husband, Kevin, or anyone else, when the doctors pulled her aside to tell her the news.
“When I came back into the room I was crying, and she was like, ‘Mommy, I’ll be okay,’” said Anamarie. “I didn’t even know how to tell her.”
After Kevin made it to Cincinnati Children’s in Liberty Twp., Makayla was transported to the main campus in Cincinnati. Anamarie was in the ambulance with Makayla and Kevin followed. He said doesn’t know exactly what a panic attack felt like but believed that was what he experienced during that trip.
“You have a million thoughts running through your head,” he said. “You don’t know what to think or to expect, you don’t have a plan. You’re completely lost and you’re just looking for support.”
Makayla is the Borg family’s middle child. Big brother Tyler is 9 and little sister Makenzie is 18 months. She underwent two brain surgeries to help relieve the fluid pressure and insert a drainage shunt.
Makayla knows she has cancer and needs treatments that will make her feel sick. She had, this week, her first of 10 weekly chemotherapy treatments, and after break and MRI, she’ll go for another 12 treatments — once every four weeks.
The Borgs moved to Fairfield from California less than three years ago. Kevin’s brother lives in the city, and until Makayla was diagnosed, they said they really didn’t know how many friends they truly had but just hadn’t yet met.
Moments after Anamarie posted the news about Makayla on Sacred Heart’s Facebook page people were calling to help.
“It went from cutting the grass to monetary support though the GoFundMe page through the ThumbsupForMakayla (Facebook page),” said Kevin. “People just thinking of any way to help us that they can, it’s amazing.”
More than $15,000 has been raised by nearly 200 people within a month.
All of this support is tough for a family used to supporting others as opposed to receiving that support, said Kevin.
“I’ve talked to people that’s gone though cancer and they tell you, ‘Don’t deny support,’ which is not always easy to do,” he said.
That support also came from Hot Head Burritos franchise owner Zach Ketring, who with his wife Roxanne held a fundraising event at his Fairfield store last week for the Borgs. His daughter, Frankie, 6, has danced with Makayla for the past couple of years at the Fairfield Community Arts Center.
“Thinking about it really upsets me, and it’s just very bothersome thinking about anybody going through that, but a 6-year-old little girl is just heartbreaking,” Ketring said. That’s why he and his wife and others in the community have done what they can to help the family out.
Jeannie Meyers is Makayla and Frankie’s dance teacher. She said Makayla is “a very sweet, shy little girl” and her smile “lights up the stage.” Because of her shyness, Meyers gave her a “special role” to coax her to showcase her talent in front of a crowd.
“I knew Makayla would want to fight. She’s just a courageous thing,” she said.
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