How One 11-Year-Old Kicked Cancer

katie couric stand up to cancer 11-year-old Pearce Quesenberry brain tumor treatment CBS

Pearce Quesenberry has a flair for the dramatic. And for an 11-year-old girl, she's already experienced plenty of it.

Pearce had brain cancer when CBS News anchor Katie Couric met her in August. Intense rounds of radiation and chemotherapy had weakened her. Unable to eat, her nutrition came from a tube.

About the feeding tube, she said: "It helps me because I don't have to always be, like, trying to eat and making my stomach hurt and stuff." Watch video.

Ten months ago, Pearce was diagnosed with a Medulloblastoma - an aggressive brain tumor. Faced with a 50 percent mortality rate, her parents had to make a choice.

"By going through the clinical trial it would increase her chance to almost 80 percent," her father, Andy Quesenberry, said.

But Pearce's doctor warned the experimental therapy came with risks.

Couric asked: Because the treatment, while it may save lives, can be really devastating to kids?"

"Absolutely," said Dr. Peter Phillips from the Children's Hospital of Philadelphia. "It's difficult enough going through the initial therapy. But the consequences - particularly of radiation therapy - has profound effects on the long-term quality of life."

After nearly a year of pain and uncertainty, a phone call came.

It worked. There was no more evidence of cancer.

"They called and I was overjoyed, but she had to read the report to be because I had to hear it for myself," said Debbie Quesenberry, Pearce's mother.

The drama queen is back in school - a school for the performing arts.

And she has a favorite teacher, Mr. Joe Masiello, who laughs: "We had a bond right off from the beginning because we both knew what it's like to be bald."

And she made the honor roll.

And as for that feeding tube - it's so yesterday.

"I like pudding. And broccoli. And filet mignon," Pearce said.

Read more about this story on Couric & Co. blog.
Read Katie Couric's original report on Pearce's cancer battle.
Watch the original report here.
Last weekend, her parents threw a party to celebrate, and to thank the people who helped them.

Now she's getting ready for Christmas. For the Quesenberrys, this will be the best Christmas ever.
  • Katie Couric

Comments

CBSN Live

pop-out
Live Video

Follow Us

Watch CBSN Live

Watch CBS News anytime, anywhere with the new 24/7 digital news network. Stream CBSN live or on demand for FREE on your TV, computer, tablet, or smartphone.

On Twitter