Missouri (Show-Me a Cure)

CONTACT: Dior Toynton
LOCATION: Ozark, Missouri 65721
EMAIL: [email protected]
PHONE: 417-894-4120

Sign-up For Email Updates

In honor and celebration of Maeleigh Toynton

Maeleigh's journey began in her freshman year, just before Thanksgiving in 2020, when she fell ill. Despite visiting several doctors with differing opinions, ranging from a possible diagnosis of mono to gastrointestinal issues and dehydration, it wasn't until November 24th, 2020, that a CT scan revealed a brain tumor. This diagnosis marked a profound shift in our lives. On December 9th, she underwent brain surgery, during which surgeons successfully removed most of the tumor, nicknamed "Ted." However, the procedure left her with posterior fossa syndrome, a condition often seen after brain tumor removal, causing speech and motor coordination difficulties. We were informed by doctors that her ability to walk, write, or smile normally again was uncertain, devastating news for a teenager who loved sports and arts & crafts.

Due to COVID-19 restrictions and medical staff shortages, the wait for physical therapy stretches for weeks. In the meantime, we improvised occupational and physical therapy techniques, witnessing her first steps without a walker before Christmas of 2020. Following surgery, we relocated to St. Louis for six weeks for proton radiation treatment, followed by challenging rounds of chemotherapy. The journey was grueling, marked by numerous blood and platelet transfusions, as she struggled to regain her balance and strength.

Despite the hardships, she persevered, completing her last chemo session in September 2021.
Now, 2.5 years later, Maeleigh is cancer-free, with stable MRI results. While her journey has included some setbacks, such as not making the varsity tennis team as she had hoped, she remains grateful for each milestone achieved. For example, her first time having enough strength to run on the beaches of Florida, giving her all to hike Diamond Head in Hawaii (thank you, Make-A-Wish), and steadfastly maintaining honor roll status. She has been inducted into the National Honor Society and plans to pursue a degree in Education at Missouri State University.

However, the effects of radiation and chemotherapy linger, serving as daily reminders of her battle. Reflecting on our experience, we recognize the need for less invasive and harsh cancer treatments. Too often, we feared losing Maeleigh to either the disease or its treatment.

Our journey has connected us with many families in Missouri facing similar challenges. Brain tumors are more common than one might think, and we are determined to advocate for better treatment options. Thus, the Toynton family stands united, demanding a cure and urging others to join our cause: SHOW-ME A CURE!

The Cure Starts Now (501c3 Federal Non-Profit) is one of the only cancer foundations dedicated to a “homerun” cure for all cancers, starting first with one of the most deadly and difficult cancers: pediatric brain cancer. Many experts believe that the lessons we learn from fighting pediatric cancer may in fact provide us the critical first step in winning the battle against all forms of cancer, both pediatric and adult.