The First Survivor Of Terminal Brain Cancer Is Not Who You’d Expect

Brain cancer is an incredibly rare affliction, which is a good thing because a malignant brain tumor is an ugly way to die. It’s difficult to treat and as the cancer spreads problems multiply. But some people manage to beat the odds.

So it is with Claudia Burkill, an English 8-year-old who beat the disease completely, according to Burkhill is the first to survive a metastatic pineoblastoma. But it wasn’t without sacrifices, to say the least:

The family agreed for Claudia to undergo an experimental Italian treatment which involving 44 sessions of radiotherapy. While she has some residual brain damage as a result of the treatment the Burkill family, including Claudia’s siblings Abigail, Esme and Zachery, believe they can get through anything.

Yeah, no kidding. After living with brain cancer for three years, we’re pretty sure normal setbacks just don’t look that hard. Also, if you say something stupid, you have the perfect out: “Oh, I’m sorry, it’s damage from that time that I beat terminal brain cancer. What’s been your biggest setback in life again?” Or she could go with “I had radiation fired directly into my brain. 44 times. No biggie. Talk more about your Spartan Run.”

OK, so maybe eight-year-old girls aren’t big with the bragging rights. And it’s not clear that that she’s entirely out of the woods yet; she’ll need to be carefully monitored to ensure the tumor doesn’t come back. But still, it’s an amazing achievement. And it sure beats having to use AIDS to kill cancer.