Brookfield Teen Fighting for Life

By Martha E. Conway

(Brookfield, NY – Jan. 2012) An 18-year-old Brookfield resident is fighting for her life at Golisano’s Children’s Hospital in Syracuse after the search for a cause of her headaches revealed a brain tumor Jan. 20. Emily Salka received the news about 9 a.m. that day; 24 hours later, the first-year SUNY Oneonta student was in surgery.

Surgeons were unable to completely remove the tumor during the 10-plus-hour operation Jan. 21, but Salka’s initial prognosis was good. She had some loss of peripheral vision and several other post-operative complications. A few days later, dad John Salka said, she was sitting up in bed, cranial pressure dropping and enjoying some of her favorite television entertainment.

Last week, the pathology report delivered another blow to the still-reeling family. John Salka said he and wife Erin were told Emily has an aggressive glioma, shooting holes in the original treatment plans.

He said they were told there wasn’t much more doctors could do for their daughter.

But John Salka, who heads the Community Memorial Hospital of Hamilton’s Cardiopulmonary Department, said they will do everything in their power to save their daughter, and their next hope lies in Houston, Texas, at the University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center. Emily’s test results and medical records will be sent ahead of her anticipated arrival Friday.

John Salka said they hope to line up a Mercy Flight so Emily will be spared the stress of navigating a commercial flight, and so medical attendants can be readily available. According to John Salka, the minimum stay in Texas will be two to six weeks.

“We are very appreciative of the outpouring of support,” he said. “‘Surreal’ doesn’t begin to describe what has transpired within the course of a week.”

The family will be facing numerous expenses not covered by insurance; the Courier will print any information we receive regarding benefits planned on behalf of the Salkas. In the meantime, the Courier will collect donations for the family made payable to John or Erin Salka and mailed in care of the paper at c/o M3P Media, LLC, P.O. Box 3, Wampsville, N.Y. 13163.

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