Topeka one-year-old among this year’s Rock Chalk Roundball Classic beneficiaries

Published: Jul. 21, 2021 at 3:55 PM CDT
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TOPEKA, Kan. (WIBW) - Topeka 18-month-old Briella Hase loves to color, read books and spend time with her two sisters.

With a bright smile shining from ear-to-ear, you would never know what she’s been through.

“She was a smiley baby, she starting to roll over and do all the things she was supposed to do,” Brandi Hase, Briella’s mom, said. “Milestone-wise, she was on track.”

At a four-month check-up, doctors found a mass on Briella’s right kidney about the size of a fist.

“The oncologist came in and just flat-out told us, ‘Your daughter has cancer,’” Brandi said. “No words can describe just the pit that you feel in your stomach.”

Seventy-two hours later, Briella underwent surgery to remove the tumor and the kidney.

“Here she was, this little tiny thing being wheeled away,” her mom remembers.

The surgery was a success — but three months later, a scan revealed another mass on her remaining kidney.

“It’s hard to hear, ‘Your child has cancer’ once, but to hear it twice, it’s terrifying,” Brandi said. “Nothing in the world can describe the pain of hearing that.”

Briella was diagnosed with Wilms tumor, a rare form of kidney cancer, just one week before her first birthday.

After nine weeks of chemotherapy, she underwent a second surgery to remove part of her left kidney and the second tumor.

She now faces nine more weeks of chemo, with the hopes of being declared cancer-free for a second time.

“We’re not at the end yet, but we’re getting close to the finish line,” Brandi said. “She’s done amazing.”

Briella is one of three beneficiaries for this year’s Rock Chalk Roundball Classic.

The August 5 and 6 star-studded nights will feature 30 former Jayhawks including Ben McLemore, Devonte Graham, Danielle McCray and Svi Mykhailiuk.

Brandi says the event will help ease the financial burden cancer placed on her family, so they can focus on healing.

“I look at all three of my little girls, and to know they’re gonna be okay, and that I don’t have to worry about how I going to put food on the table for them or keep the lights on, it’s just such a blessing,” she said.

Tickets go on sale Thursday. For more information on how to purchase yours, or to donate, visit the RCR Classic website.

Brandi also set up a Facebook page with updates on Briella, here.

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