EL DORADO, Ark. (AP) - She started having headaches - bad headaches - when she was only 16 years old - a sophomore in high school with dreams of a bright future.
Eighteen months after Hannah Sullivan died, her grieving parents decided to do something to help other parents who continue to mourn the loss of a child.
They lived in El Dorado from 1999 to 2003, and Brad served as assistant principal at El Dorado High School. He now serves as an assistant superintendent at Fountain Lake in Hot Springs, director of curriculum and instruction.
Jill is a speech pathologist, and they live in Magnet Cove. Their daughter, Bethany, is engaged to be married and is studying dental hygiene at the University of Arkansas.
They share their story of God’s faithfulness throughout their daughter’s illness, what He taught them during the past five years and how the church can best minister to grieving parents, Jill said.
Brad and Jill are co-founders of “While We’re Waiting,” with Larry and Janice Brown, and currently, retreats for parents who have lost children are held at the Family Farm, a Christian day camp in Glen Rose, owned and operated by Stan and Donna May, Jill said.
All three couples have lost children.
Jill said Hannah was first diagnosed with glioblastoma when she was in high school. Hannah went to Arkansas Children’s Hospital for surgery to remove the tumor and then endured chemotherapy and radiation treatment and almost one year after her diagnosis.
On Feb. 26, 2009, she died.
Glioblastoma multiforme is the most common and most aggressive malignant primary brain tumor in humans. GMB is rare, with incidence of two to three cases per 100,000 in Europe and North America.
Treatment includes surgery to remove the tumor, chemotherapy and radiation.
“God gives children with cancer a special grace. Hannah accepted it (her cancer) and never questioned why. The night before her surgery, she told us about how God allows storms in life to show others about Him. When we got her diagnosis, she said it was her storm,” Jill told The El Dorado News Times (http://bit.ly/1u4CZLt). “It is amazing what God has done through Hannah.”
Jill said Bethany was 12 and in the seventh grade when her sister received the brain tumor diagnosis.