East Valley bands together for girl with brain tumor - NBC Right Now/KNDO/KNDU Tri-Cities, Yakima, WA |

East Valley bands together for girl with brain tumor

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TERRACE HEIGHTS--A community comes together for a sick child.

A sixth-grade girl at East Valley Central Middle School is currently undergoing radiation treatment for a brain tumor.

Jessica Hocson's family calls her Blondie, the only one of three kids with golden hair.

But, now it's all gone, shaved off last month so doctors could treat the tumor three inches long and one inch wide from her brain stem.

It all started December 11.  Jessica came home from school with a splitting headache.

"She laid down to take a nap," Jessica's mom, Shawnette Hocson, said.  "She got up and couldn't talk; she kind of gargled.  Her hands and tongue were numb and she had a funny taste in her mouth."

Hocson was airlifted to Children's Hospital in Seattle.  She and her parents have stayed there since then. 

The life-threatening illness stunned Jessica's former coach.

"You see a kid like that who seems very healthy, very active and just normal all the way around," Vernon 'Woody' Woods said.  "Out of nowhere they have this situation.  You hate to see any kid fight for their life this early."

The Hocson's have lived in East Valley for almost all of Jessica's eleven years.

Now, friends in their small community come together to help.  

The Hocson's have insurance, but there's still a big burden on the family, so some of Jessica's classmates are selling bracelets that say "Pray for Jessica" for $2 each.

The community's also organized a fundraiser for 5:00 p.m. Saturday at the Terrace Heights Grange.   Admission is $10; other donations can be made at Banner Bank.  The event will be a dinner/dance, along with a bake sale, silent auction and raffle.

You can also follow Jessica's rehab on her CaringBridge web site:   www.caringbridge.org/visit/jessicahocson