Classmates surprise Naples 8-year-old after brain tumor diagnosis
NAPLES, Fla. – Just weeks ago, Eli Valimont was living a healthy life and attending school at Veterans Memorial Elementary in Naples. Then one morning everything changed.
The 8-year-old started acting strangely in class. Eventually, he couldn’t walk and teachers got him help. Within hours, Eli had been airlifted to a hospital in Miami where doctors discovered he had a brain tumor.
“I kind of felt like… holy crap,” Eli said of his reaction when he learned the news.
Eli’s brain tumor is inoperable and he may only live a few more weeks. Late last summer, his father, Brian, had been diagnosed with ALS and is already confined to a wheelchair.
“While the prognosis is grim for both of them, we can’t live like that,” Eli’s mom, Gay, said. “We have to live like today is the best and today we’re going to fight it.”
And they are not fighting alone.
Last week, teachers from Eli’s school organized a surprise party outside his home. It featured his favorite food (grilled cheese), music, and visits from classmates. It was their way of showing support for the family during a dark time.
“This improbable tragedy has brought love to the forefront of our lives,” Brian said. “That keeps me going each day.”
If you would like to help the Valimont family, you can donate to their medical expenses here.
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