Local toddler battling brain tumor, receives suprise visit from Bluey

March 8, 2024 | 12:15 am

Updated March 8, 2024 | 12:34 am

Photos provided

Before he was 6 months old, Finnley “Finn” Clark had already undergone numerous procedures as he battled multiple medical conditions. He was later diagnosed with a brain tumor, and now the 19-month-old is in Hospice care. Earlier this week, Finn received a joyous surprise when Bluey — a popular TV character — visited him for a celebration of life party

During the first few months of his life, Finn’s medical issues included a lip and tongue tie reversal, GERD difficulties with frequent projectile vomiting, and a Laryngomalacia diagnosis described as difficulty breathing due to floppy vocal cords. 

Although there were numerous doctor visits during those early months, nothing could prepare his mother for what happened next.

“I kept telling people there’s something wrong. I didn’t know what it was, but my momma intuition kept telling me there was something wrong,” said Kaitlin Clark, Finn’s mother. 

Tests revealed a tumor, diagnosed as Medulloblastoma — the most common type of cancerous brain tumor in children. Starting in the cerebellum, the cancer interrupts muscle coordination, balance, and movement.

“At first, I thought he had cerebral palsy,” Clark said. “He wasn’t reaching most milestones.”

With a tumor the size of a grape on his brain, Finn was placed in the ICU to be monitored, leading to a full year of treatments and doctor visits and ultimately a search for answers.

After 6 months in the Ronald McDonald House, Kaitlin said they were ready to come home. That looked a little different for all of them, as little Finn was placed in Hospice care.

The Bluey “Pawty” was put together by the Hartford House at the Hospice and Palliative Care of Western Kentucky. The celebration included all the things Finn would normally love including games, balloons, and a colorful parachute. 

Clark said the community support has been tremendous, from those who stop by for a visit to those who donated food, services, and products to make Finn’s party special. In addition to HPC staff, organizations helping out with the celebration included The Oven, Get Baked OBKY Bakery, The Party Space Place, Feller Express, A&R Tees and Gifts, Stitches with a Purpose, Double Batch Cookies and Creations, Pepsi, and Olive Garden.

Bluey is an Australian animated preschool television series that has become popular worldwide among children and adults alike. The show follows the adventures of Bluey, a Blue Heeler puppy who lives with her parents and younger sister. Nearly all of the characters are dogs.

“Finn loves Bluey,” Clark said. “He has all the stuffed characters and he even has a painting made with his handprint.”

While he may not have felt his best, Finn smiled during his party, reminding everyone in the room that he was a fighter.

“There’s an episode of Bluey about not reaching milestones. Finnley won’t reach milestones at the pace that other kids do. It’s hard not to compare him with babies saying words or other children his age, but every baby finishes their race at their own pace,” Clark said

As far as advice for other parents dealing with medical conditions in young children, Clark emphasizes how important it is to advocate for your children.  

“Trust your gut. If a doctor tells you your child is fine and you don’t think your child is fine, advocate for that child,” she said. “If you need to travel and go four hours away, do it. I knew I wanted to go to the best place even if it was halfway around the world.”

March 8, 2024 | 12:15 am

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