Lodi girl and her father both battling for their lives

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Feb. 25—Lodi native Dana Ricketts said her niece Zoey Bossert was the typical 7-year-old girl — a sweet, healthy and happy child with a lot of energy.

In late October, Zoey took a fall and broke her elbow. Over the next two months, her doctors took several x-rays to make sure the joint was healing well.

While the healing process was progressing normally, Ricketts said her niece’s behavior and attitude seemed to change.

“She was still having some pain going on, and she was crying a lot,” Ricketts said. “But in the second week of January, she was in severe pain. She was screaming and crying. There was one time she just fell on the ground, screaming in pain.”

Zoey was taken to UC Davis, where doctors decided to perform an MRI. The results were shocking — Zoey had more than 100 tumors throughout her body, the largest one the size of an orange, located in her back and putting pressure on her bladder.

The tumor caused Zoey to lose the ability to walk, and she was not able to go to the bathroom at all.

“This was very rare,” Ricketts said. “The doctors said they had never seen a child with this many tumors.”

Doctors ultimately diagnosed Zoey with Hodgkins-Lymphoma cancer, and now she must endure two years of chemotherapy, twice the amount of time a child normally endures.

The orange-sized tumor in her back was removed, Ricketts said, and now doctors are working to remove one in her head. The others will have to be eliminated through the chemotherapy, she said.

“She has good days and bad days,” Ricketts said. “She can’t walk. The other day she was able to stand up with braces and get in a wheelchair. But that’s about all she can do to move around right now.”

If Zoey’s situation wasn’t bad enough, her diagnosis came as her father is battling through his own medical trauma.

Seven years ago, Ricketts’ brother Darren Bossert was diagnosed with an aneurysm that almost reached his heart. He underwent open-heart surgery and bounced back, Ricketts said, but he passed out in early November and was rushed to Adventist Health Lodi Memorial Hospital.

Doctors discovered he had low sodium levels, which causes confusion and can put someone in a coma. Just before he was about to be discharged, he suffered a seizure and went into fibrillation, causing a lack of oxygen in the brain, Ricketts said. He was placed on a ventilator, and has been in the hospital’s intensive care unit ever since.

Bossert is the main source of income for his family — which includes his wife Lisa and 12-year-old son Alex — so Ricketts began a gofundme page in the hopes of raising money to help the family with bills, groceries and anything else the family might need.

Ricketts’ goal was to raise $2,000, and as of Thursday, $3,195 had been raised.

Family friend Sara Gasca also created a gofundme page with the goal of raising $20,000 to help the family. As of Thursday, $7,070 had been raised.

Meanwhile, staff, students and parents at Zoey’s school, Nichols Elementary School, have been helping as much as they can.

“The school made a Valentine’s Day card for Zoey, and parents have been going up every day to bring her and the family things,” Ricketts said. “Clothes have been dropped off to Lisa (Bossert, Zoey’s mother), and they’ve taken the family out to dinner. They’ve been really supportive.”

Ricketts said her brother’s chance of complete recovery is fifty-fifty, but he is “hanging in there.” As for Zoey, she said doctors are optimistic she will also recover. However, the process will be long and slow.

To donate to either gofundme, visit tinyurl.com/Bosserts, or tinyurl.com/Bosserts2.


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