SIOUX FALLS, S.D (KELO) — People across South Dakota are rallying behind a family facing a difficult situation described as “a parent’s worst nightmare.”
Charlie Murano is 15 months old and recently was diagnosed with PNET, a rare, aggressive form of cancer that attacks the brain. Now the family is doing what they can to Fight for Charlie.
“It’s been the longest and the fastest two weeks of our life,” said Charlie’s mother, Abby Murano.
Abby and Joel Murano and their son Max, welcomed the newest member of their family, Charlie, in May of last year.
“Charlie was always the happiest-go-lucky kid, he, he was the easy baby. He was the baby that slept through the night at two months. And he just always had this like calming and just really enjoyable personality,” Abby told Nexstar’s KELO.
But a few weeks ago, the Muranos began to notice Charlie displaying signs of paralysis. After doctors did scans of his brain, they found rapidly progressing tumors attacking his brain and spinal cord. Charlie was diagnosed with PNET, a rare aggressive cancer.
“Cancer in Charlie’s age group is very rare in and of itself. And we’re being told that it’s very possible that the type of cancer that Charlie has, he may be the only child diagnosed with that in his age group this year,” said Joel.
“This is definitely a parent’s worst nightmare. When we learned that it was rare, things were elevated very quickly. You know, we prepared ourselves for that. And this was just harder than we could have ever imagined,” Abby said.
For the last two weeks, the family has been at the Sanford Children’s Hospital, where little Charlie has been undergoing radiation treatments.
“The radiation treatment seemed to be easing the pain and discomfort that was associated with the pressure on his brain and spinal cord. Every day, he keeps getting incrementally better and regaining his functions and his abilities,” Joel explained.
While this experience has been difficult, the Muranos said the support they have received from doctors, family, and the community has been remarkable.
“Now we have a diagnosis, a preliminary diagnosis, and we have a plan to fight this,” Abby told KELO. “And we’re very optimistic with all the support and the love and the prayers. And we have faith that Charlie’s gonna get through this.”
The Murano family plans to continue Charlie’s treatment at the Fairview Children’s Hospital in Minnesota.
Joel’s brother Doug started a GoFundMe to raise funds for the family. It has since raised more than $42,000.