Teen Beats Brain Cancer; Gets to Go Home After Year at Mary Free Bed

Posted at 10:50 AM, Jun 06, 2014
and last updated 2014-06-09 08:52:22-04

GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. (June 6, 2014) –It’s a special day for one Kent County teen, and a day her parents didn’t think would come. After beating brain cancer and months of intense therapy at Mary Free Bed, 13 year-old Jeanna Schoonbeck is finally going home, Friday.

Her parents remember the time last May when their lives changed. Jeanna was having headaches and doctors found a tumor inside the Duncan Lake Middle School student’s head.

The tumor eventually expanded and bled into Jeanna’s brain stem.

“That was the beginning of her sleeping for eight weeks,” said Kelly Schoonbeck, Jeanna’s mother.

Kelly and Stephen Schoonbeck thought they could pre-plan Jeanna’s recovery process.

“But God had a different plan and His plan would be she would go through this time and we would learn about how to trust Him more with this,” remembered Kelly.

“As a father, you want to fix it, we want to make it all better,” said Stephen. “But I’ve learned that we can’t fix this, we have to rely on God and advocate for her.”

When Mary Free Bed noticed Jeanna was showing signs of neurological improvement, they invited her for a couple of weeks of therapy. The Schoonbeck’s said the prayers continued to heal their daughter, and what started as a two-week intense therapy stay turned into a year.

“She started coming around and started using her tongue and her mouth to say yes and no, making her arms and fingers,” said Stephen.

“We are very grateful for Mary Free Bed, it was what saved her life,” said Kelly. “Had we taken her home, she would have died.”

The family also has new therapy bike for Jeanna, donated by their Caledonia community, which will help in her continued therapy process.

“When I look back at that first day we were here to where we are today, it’s nothing but excitement and miracles,” said Stephen.

Jeanna’s family is confident she will make a full recovery.