Community, Birdville schools rally behind girl with cancer
Trinity Faith Moran is sick with cancer, but her spirit remains strong.
Trinity, an 11-year-old fifth-grader at Walker Creek Elementary School, has endured several months of chemotherapy and radiation treatments for a rare and aggressive form of childhood cancer.
The community and Birdville school district have rallied behind Trinity, and on Friday she was a special guest at Birdville High School’s boys basketball game against Fort Worth Dunbar.
Trinity was greeted by cheerleaders, well-wishers and media crews when she arrived for the game.
“It makes me feel kind of special,” Trinity said.
One of Trinity’s favorite Bible verses is Philippians 4:13: “I can do all things through Christ, who gives me strength.”
A special announcement about Trinity was made before the game. The entire crowd in the full gymnasium and both basketball teams cheered and clapped when asked to show their support for Trinity and her family.
Birdville cheerleaders brought in a plush leopard print chair for Trinity to sit in as she watched the game from the sidelines.
Trinity said this school year has been tough, but she enjoys being home-schooled. Displaying strength beyond her years, she offered encouragement for others facing difficult times.
“No matter what it is, you can do it,” she said. “You just have to keep going.”
The cancer was diagnosed in June, after Trinity took a trip to visit her father, Jay Moran, in Destin, Fla. Shortly after arriving, Trinity’s health took a sharp and sudden downturn. What first appeared to be a stomach virus turned out to be far more serious.
Without warning, life changed for Trinity, a girl who loves modeling, fashion, drawing Anime figures and playing Minecraft online with her friends.
In the middle of the night, her mother, Kimberly Rasmus, received a phone call about Trinity’s dire condition. Hospital tests in Florida revealed that Trinity had a tumor on the fifth rib on her right side, near a lung.
“It caused the lung to collapse,” Rasmus said. “She had three liters of fluid in her body and was critical at that point. It was a miracle she made it through that.”
Diagnosed with stage 3 rhabdomyosarcoma, Trinity was airlifted to Cook Children’s Medical Center in Fort Worth where she had surgery. Later she had radiation and chemotherapy treatments in Houston.
Trinity needed an intravenous feeding tube to receive sustenance.
“It was five weeks before she was well enough to eat one grape,” Rasmus said.
‘Too invasive for surgery’
The past several months have taken a toll on Trinity, her parents, her sister, Amity Hope, 14, and other family members and friends.
“In the beginning, the great people I work with literally picked me up off the floor when I was on my knees on the floor crying,” Rasmus said. “If I did not have my God to lean on and support from my church friends and family, I don’t know what I’d do. We’re standing and believing that God is going to do a great, great, thing with her life.”
It was hoped that Trinity would receive a clear bill of health after her radiation and chemotherapy treatments concluded in late December. But on Jan. 8, there was more devastating news: The cancer had returned with four new tumors, and one of them is near the aorta.
“It’s inoperable,” said Rasmus. “It’s too invasive of a surgery.”
Only about 3 percent of all childhood cancers — roughly 350 new cases every year — are diagnosed as rhabdomyosarcoma, according to the American Cancer Society’s website. Rhabdomyosarcoma is described as “a cancer made up of cells that normally develop into skeletal muscles.”
Over the summer, Birdville teachers organized fundraisers for “Trinity Strong” rubber bracelets and posted about Trinity’s story on Facebook, said Jennifer Ward, a third-grade teacher at Walker Creek who had Trinity in her class.
“Once school started and we had Meet the Teacher night, we had Trinity come up and we sold the bracelets then, also,” Ward said. “We knew the family needed help going through this horrible thing.”
Nicole Anderson, a third-grade teacher at Walker Creek, and her husband, Taylor, produced a video about Trinity that is posted on social media and YouTube to help raise awareness. Students at all grade levels at the school have sent a stream of cards, letters and pictures to Trinity.
She has not been well enough to attend classes since the start of the school year.
‘Just trucking along’
Ward reached out to friend Tina Clifton who teaches at both Smithfield Middle School and Birdville High School and coaches varsity cheerleading at Birdville High.
Clifton turned to her cheerleaders for help.
“We started brainstorming ideas,” said Clifton. “We wanted something that blesses her, involves her presence and encourages her. One of the girls said, ‘Maybe she could cheer with us.’ They are so sweet; I just love their hearts.”
From there, the cheerleaders made plans to have Trinity cheer with them at a basketball game.
Moving forward, Rasmus vows to take everything one day at a time.
“Trinity is feeling better than ever right now, and she’s starting to gain weight,” she said. “God’s right there and she’s just trucking along.
“She’s not so sick right now and I am so happy and grateful for that. God’s peace is with her, and it’s with me.”