A little girl who survived brain cancer wanted to give other children a better chance of surviving, so she and her family went on a $4-million mission.
Austin Roberts was six years old when she was diagnosed with brain cancer. Doctors in Los Angeles removed her tumor. Neurosurgeons used what's known as intraoperative MRI, allowing them to see high resolution images of Roberts' brain during surgery.
"If they would of gone into surgery and not known how close it was to the motor cortex and damage that area, I would've been paralyzed on the left side of my body," Roberts said.
Now 18, Roberts leads a normal life. She's cancer-free and ready to start college. Once cured of cancer, she and her family set out on a five-year mission to raise $4.5 million to bring the same iMRI technology to Cook Children's hospital in Fort Worth.
"So, if you get all the tumor out that's a big deal because that means your patient is probably cured," said Dr. Dave Donahue, a neurosurgeon at Cook Children’s.
By 2007, Roberts' dream was realized. As a result, neurosurgeons at Cook Children's performed their 500th surgery this week using the technology that allows them to better see tumors as they operate, so they can remove all of it.
"It makes me so happy that what I went through is coming out to benefit others," she said.
Donahue believes using iMRI has resulted in shorter hospital stays and fewer repeat surgeries to remove parts of tumors left behind.