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West Michigan community unites around six-year-old boy battling brain tumor

Posted at 11:23 PM, Feb 13, 2021
and last updated 2021-02-13 23:23:16-05

BELMONT, Mich. — It took just a few moments for Hank Burzynski and his older sister, Charlotte, to settle into their new spaces.

“Our room looked like, so different,” said Hank.

“Excited,” said Charlotte. “It was really cool.

On Saturday, the siblings, who live in Belmont, came home to a new bedroom and e-learning space all put together in one day by Shavahn Randle, an interior designer in West Michigan who owns SE Interiors and is also the Burzynski’s neighbor.

“Your environment aids in your creativity, productivity, your healing… even your mood,” said Randle. “I just really wanted something that would help.”

The room makeover is just one of the latest ways the Burzynski’s community is rallying around them.

This summer, doctors diagnosed Hank with Pilocytic Astrocytoma.

It’s a brain tumor, often benign and slow growing, that develops in children.

Since his diagnosis, Hank’s mom, Kristy, says a GoFundMe and meal trains are examples of other ways the community has been supportive.

“Fingers crossed, our hopes are high and he has such a great outlook and such a good attitude,” said Kristy.

The prognosis for pilocytic astrocytoma is generally good, with cure rates of 90 - 95 percent. Surgery is required.

Hank has undergone two surgeries within the past six months which has removed about 80 percent of the tumor.

“He has lost some vision,” said Kristy. “The right side from doing surgery on the left side has caused him to lose a lot of movement, so right now it’s just a lot of rehab.”

Kristy says while it’s difficult, the support means a lot.

“I appreciate so much more, I appreciate people more,” said Kristy. “It makes me want to help other people.”

Kristy encourages other people to help whomever, whenever, saying that moment can make a difference.

“Even just kind words on a sad day, they don’t know that I’m like dying inside and so upset about my son and then people come into your life and say hey I want you to know I’m thinking about you. Just those little things it can really take a toll on you and seeing that other people care, and knowing that you’re not alone in this, I don’t know it makes such a difference and has given us such a positive outlook.”