Hailie Mussinan

hailie-mussinan“Now she can be just Hailie. Not the kid with medical issues.” – Melody Mussinan

Three-year-old Hailie Mussinan of Fords, New Jersey was having headaches and was vomiting. She was taken to a few doctors, who thought she had sinus issues. However, all that changed on October 2, 2012, following an outpatient MRI at St. Peter’s Hospital. Hailie was immediately diagnosed with a brain tumor. Says her mother Melody, “They couldn’t initially tell us anything–what kind of tumor, whether she was going to live. As parents, we were petrified waiting to find out what was happening to our child.”

In the meantime, Hailie was enveloped in chaos, and immediately rushed to a hospital room and connected to IV’s. Then, several doctors came in to speak with her parents; among them Dr. Arno Fried of Advanced Neurosurgery Associates (ANA). They explained that Hailie’s condition required immediate surgery. But their manner was the “best medicine” possible in that moment. “Their demeanor and knowledge was extraordinary. Immediately it was like a weight lifting off of us,” says Melody.

In addition to a brain tumor, Hailie was also diagnosed with hydrocephalus. Her tumor, juvenile pilocytic astrocytoma (JPA), is a rare childhood brain tumor. However, Hailie’s was a low-grade cancerous tumor.

Prior to her surgeries, Hailie was a rather quiet child. She would sit on the sidelines while her sisters ran around. And while her mother just assumed that was Hailie’s personality, the pain her daughter was enduring was likely affecting her.

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