Oak Manor steps up for student with genetic disorderPublished 6:56am Friday, February 15, 2013
Eight days after doctors removed two tumors from his spine, 12-year-old Tanner Davis still had the strength and courage to surprise his classmates on Valentine’s Day.
Tanner’s mother and father placed Tanner on a chair and wheeled him into the Oak Manor Sixth Grade Center gymnasium Thursday afternoon as his classmates cheered.
“This is the reason we are here today,” said Tanner’s teacher, Cherie Schaller, to the packed gym.
Tanner stayed about 30 minutes, just long enough to say hello and show off his new present — an 11-week-old Siberian Husky puppy. Tanner named it Mar, after Dr. Cormac Oliver Maher, who performed surgery on Tanner Feb. 6.
Tanner has a form of neurofibromatosis, a genetic disorder that causes tumors to grow in the nervous system.
Tanner’s mother, Anne, said they didn’t find out Tanner had the condition until a month ago, when small lumps were found on his forehead.
After testing, doctors found a small tumor growing on the outside of Tanner’s spine and a large one inside his spinal cord. Both were benign. Doctors said surgery was risky, but necessary.
Fortunately, Tanner came out of it with very few side effects. Anne said Tanner has some trouble with balance and movement, but is expected to fully recovery in six to eight weeks.
“They did an amazing job,” Anne said.
There are several other noncancerous tumors growing on Tanner’s body, Anne said, but, as of now, they don’t need to be removed.
“He’ll have to be monitored forever unless they come up with a cure,” she said.
Together we are strong
The day before the surgery, classmates presented Tanner with a handmade banner signed by each student at the Niles sixth-grade center. He took the banner, which read, “Tanner together we are strong,” to the hospital.
“It actually choked him up a little bit,” Anne said.
Schaller organized a fundraiser for Tanner Thursday at the school called “Hearts for Tanner Day.”
Milano’s Pizza in Niles donated 60 pizzas and $500, while Wonderland Cinema chipped in popcorn. Teachers made and sold baked goods, and the kids paid a couple bucks to eat popcorn and watch a movie.
Schaller said they raised over $1,500.
“We miss him in our classroom that’s for sure,” said Schaller, who called Tanner her “tech wizard.”
“He knows probably more about technology than I do and teaches me periodically,” she said.
Tanner, a straight-A student according to his mother, said he couldn’t wait to get back to school.
“I want to thank them for all their support, and I am hoping to have a quick recovery,” he said.
A benefit for Tanner will be held from 2 to 8 p.m. March 9 at the Eagles Lodge, 34 Sycamore St., Niles. There will be a silent auction, 50/50 raffle and food.