Girl battling brain tumor has active summer

Published 12:00 am Saturday, July 8, 2017

Isyss Couch spent much of her fourth grade year being treated at The Children’s Hospital in Birmingham for a brain tumor, but she’s had an active summer with family and friends.

Thanks to UAB and Children’s Hospital, she visited Hershey Park in Hershey, Pa., a trip she had wanted to take. She also has taken a trip to the beach with her family, and participated in a game night at First United Methodist Church of Andalusia, an event coordinated by her fourth-grade teachers, Heather Bailey and Susan Chandler.

“The kids were happy to see her having fun and enjoying some time with them,” Bailey said.

Last year, Isyss’s fourth-grade classmates formed a team to help support her.

“Her teachers, along with her classmates, raised nearly $7,000 in her honor,” her mom, Jamila Couch said. “I’m thankful for their support, and because of that, I could focus on Isyss’s health without worry.”

Bailey said she and Chandler, who were team teachers at AES last year, had never had a seriously ill student before in their collective 19 years of teaching.

At first, they struggled with how to explain Issys’s absence after her diagnosis in January. They considered just telling her classmates that Isyss was sick.

“Then we realized we needed to teach compassion,” Chandler said when they began fundraising. “This is life.”

The students embraced the fundraising effort, and communicated with her through cards, letters, and Skype.

“Some people are painting rocks with positive messages, which is a great gesture,” Bailey said. “But we also need to be living out those messages.”

Isyss has an important MRI in the near future, but her friends and family are amazed that she continues to defy the odds.

The students also have a Facebook page, Team Isyss.