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Trafford 'Koncert' to benefit Monroeville 4-year-old with brain tumor

| Wednesday, March 5, 2014, 9:00 p.m.
Submitted Kelsey Hanahan with her parents, Tom and April.

Though a brain tumor caused Kelsey Hanahan to lose her sight last year, the 4-year-old continues to be a happy, positive child as she undergoes chemotherapy, her mother, April, said.

This weekend, the Hanahans' supporters are putting on a fundraiser to help the family with the expenses for to the Monroeville girl's ongoing treatment at Children's Hospital of Pittsburgh.

Dubbed “Koncert for Kelsey,” the Saturday-night fundraiser in the Manchester Room in Trafford will include a show by alternative-rock band All These Nines, a Chinese auction, basket raffles and a cash bar. Tickets cost $10 for the event, which starts at 7 p.m.

Since November, Kelsey has been undergoing monthly chemotherapy sessions to try to shrink a tumor known as an optic-nerve glioma. Because the tumor is on an optic nerve, doctors can't remove it without causing permanent blindness.

Even if the treatments are successful at shrinking the tumor, there is little chance of Kelsey's vision returning, April Hanahan said. Most optic gliomas happen in children before the age of 20, according to the National Institutes of Health. There is no known cause.

Family members tell Kelsey that doctors are treating a “boo-boo in her head” when she goes to the hospital.

This week, the Hanahans were expecting Kelsey to start a clinical trial round of chemotherapy that is not approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration.

“She's just one of the happiest kids that you'll ever meet,” April Hanahan said. “Even when she goes to the hospital to get treatment, she tries to see the positive side of things.”

Kelsey's vision problems became more prominent last summer, when her family noticed she was holding things closer to her eyes and standing closer to the television. She wore glasses for a month, but her sight didn't improve.

Doctors diagnosed the tumor in November.

Kelsey's aunt, Amy Bates, has been among a team of 12 people who have been planning the fundraiser.

As of last week, the group had collected about $3,000 worth of donated gift cards that will be raffled off Saturday.

“We are an extremely close family, and through this we've learned who we can count on and who we can't count on,” Bates said. “We just want Kelsey to know how much she's loved.”

Chris Foreman is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. He can be reached at 412-856-7400, ext. 8671, or cforeman@tribweb.com.

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