Kramer family deals with youngest daughter’s brain tumor

Doreen Heintz

Young Sophie Kramer, whose dad, Curtis, grew up in Central Montana, is being treated for a rare form of brain cancer known as PMA.
Photo courtesy of Jill Kramer

One of most horrifying words we hear too often today is “cancer.” But when that “C” word involves a 3-year-old, it is even more terrifying for a family. Cancer has turned the world upside down for the Curtis Kramer family of Twin Falls, Idaho.
Curtis grew up in Central Montana and graduated from Stanford High School in 1996. He is the son of Doug and Debbi Kramer, who now live in Laurel.
Curtis’s youngest daughter was diagnosed with a brain tumor in early October. After part of the tumor was removed from their youngest daughter Sophie’s brain on Oct. 13 at Primary Children’s Hospital in Salt Lake City, the family had to wait almost a month before they received the pathological report about the tumor.
The news finally came on Nov. 8 when Curtis and Jill (Curtis’s wife) learned Sophie has a pilomyxoide astrocytoma (PMA). This is a rare and fairly new tumor-type cancer. It was not identified as its own type until 1999.
Now once a month for 12 months the Kramers will make the trip to Salt Lake City where Sophie will undergo chemotherapy. The Kramers made the first trip to Salt Lake, a 500-mile round trip from their home in Twin Falls, for chemotherapy on Wednesday, Nov. 16.
Now for the next 11 months, the ritual will be the same – a trip to Salt Lake City for another round of chemo once a month. The one thing that will keep the Kramer family strong through this next year and the past year was their faith in God and all the prayers and good wishes they have received from friends and family.

Sophie’s story began almost a year ago
For Jill, Curtis and Sophie’s sister Addison, Sophie’s ordeal began when she was 2 1/2 years old – almost a year ago.
“We kept noticing things were not quite right with Sophie,” said Curtis. “She seemed to be eating everything in sight, but was not gaining any weight.”
Sophie’s condition continued to get worse during the summer.
Sophie was tested for mono, diabetes, thyroid, anemia and she also had a neurological exam. Her pediatrician did find that her tonsils were larger than needed, and this could cause a sleep disorder. Sophie was scheduled for a tonsillectomy and the removal of her adenoids in early September.
“I was really hoping this was the answer,” said Curtis. “Once I had my tonsils removed, I don’t think I have hardly been sick.”
The surgery took place on Sept. 9, but Sophie was back in the emergency room on Sept. 11 due to dehydration. She was sent home hooked up to an IV.
A few days later, Sophie began complaining about a headache.
Finally on Oct. 10, Jill was able to tell Sophie’s doctor about all of her symptoms. He determined that an emergency MRI needed to be done. The family packed their bags and made their first trip to Salt Lake City.
Sophie was admitted immediately into the Neuro Trama Unit of Primary Children’s Hospital in Salt Lake. The very next day, Oct. 13, Sophie went into surgery to have as much of the tumor in her brain removed as possible.

Family needs some financial assistance
Although most of Sophie’s medical bills will be paid by insurance, there will be many ongoing costs for the family over the next year. The 500-mile round trip to Salt Lake costs gas money and food along the way. The family may also need to spend some nights in Salt Lake.
 A “GoFundMe” account has been set up for the family. To find the account, go to, click on medical, and then type in “Stand with Sophie” for the search.



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