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McHenry Co. family praying for 'miracle' cure to help save their daughter
By Amy Mack | Daily Herald Columnist

Taylor Radtke, 7, of Johnsburg loves cheerleading, animals -- especially monkeys -- and laughing. And she wishes she could take her friends to heaven with her.


Photo provided by Laurie and Jeff Radtke

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Published: 10/10/2007 2:13 PM

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There is no rest, no time, and no false hope on Laurie and Jeff Radtke's desperate quest to save their daughter Taylor's life.

The family needs your help, your prayers, your connections.

And "a miracle. We need a miracle," Laurie said as she raced her sparkly 7-year-old to yet another doctor's appointment Tuesday afternoon.

"You look at her and she has this contagious smile and it makes you want to laugh," Laurie said, the words choked by the sobs that are never far from the surface these days.

Earlier Coverage
Taylor Radtke
Seven-year-old Taylor Radtke, diagnosed with a rare tumor that threatens her vision and mobility, needs life-saving surgery that few doctors are willing to perform.
How you can help
DONATE - Donations for Taylor Radtke are being accepted at First Midwest Bank's Johnsburg branch, 3805 N. Johnsburg Road, and McHenry branch, 1308 N. Route 31. Funds raised will be put toward research, travel expenses and medical costs.
SEND A CARD - If you'd like to write the Radtkes a card, please send them courtesy of Amy Mack, Daily Herald, 385 Airport Road, Suite A, Elgin, IL 60123.

"She's happy to be here ... she lives her life. She loves animals, cheerleading ... she's never complained through any of this ... the only thing she's sad about is she's sad she can't take her friends to heaven with her."

And the sobs win as the young mother fights for control on yet another phone call begging for help.

"This" is a brain tumor that threatens irreversible damage if the Johnsburg couple can't find a surgeon willing to remove it from a tricky part of Taylor's brain within the next couple of weeks.

The tumor is one of three in the little girl's brain, this one on a vulnerable spot between the base of the brain and the spinal cord. Called a clivus meningioma, it is extremely rare, growing rapidly and threatening Taylor's mobility and life.

Without surgery, she'll die. Radiation is not an option. Even with the extremely difficult surgery, she could die or be paralyzed from a tumor so rare none of the experts now helping the family will take the risk.

"We need a surgeon who will say she matters. She's seven years old and she matters and we'll try," Laurie said, the tears again taking over.

Finding someone to help Taylor now colors every moment for Laurie and Jeff, a Lake Zurich Fire Department captain, Taylor and her little brother, Blake, 5.

Taylor beat the odds once before. She had open heart surgery shortly after she was born. "The team of doctors for the open heart surgery said they were willing to take a risk and we need a team of doctors willing to do that again," Laurie said. "We're ready to go anytime and anyplace -- we're packed and ready to go.

"I can't, we can't, give up," Laurie said as they readied for another round of invasive tests scheduled for Thursday when they'll learn how much time Taylor has. It's been almost nonstop tests and phone calls since learning the grim reality of what their daughter faces two weeks ago.

She had been undergoing tests and discomfort for almost a year before the extent of the tumor was discovered.

"I can't look at her and tell her it's all for nothing," Laurie said. "We need a miracle."

They hope someone out there can help.

If you know of anyone who has faced a similar situation or of a doctor skilled in this surgery anywhere in this country, send the information to the family in care of

Please don't wait.