The Good Stuff: Swinging for the fences

An inoperable brain tumor hasn’t stop young Addison from playing the game she loves

The Good Stuff Swing For The Fences

SHREVEPORT, La. (KSLA) - Woden, Texas certainly qualifies as a sleepy small town.

This quiet in the suburb of Nacogdoches is often broken by the repetitive thud, the sound of bat to ball, struck by 12-year-old Addison Babbs.

12-year-old Addison Babbs, second from the left, has been diagnosed with an inoperable brain tumor
12-year-old Addison Babbs, second from the left, has been diagnosed with an inoperable brain tumor

“Me and my dad talk about sports all the time,” said Addison, shortly before the two played a game of catch, followed by Addison practicing her swing, hitting softball into a net.

But her love of the game of softball was nearly broken into pieces by a heart-wrenching and confusing discovery made by doctors nearly four years ago.

“There are times I’ve cried and balled my eyes out,” admits Addison’s mother, Angel.

Medical problems for Addison first began shortly after the family was involved in a crash in late 2015, just outside of Nacogdoches.

"I look up and he's doing a u-turn instead of coming out into traffic," explain Addison's father, Shane, who says there was no way to avoid the truck pulling a trailer.

Addison remembers that faithful day, as well.

"I just remember my dad telling us to get ready, and I remember hitting."

Both Addison and Angel who checked out at the hospital and released.

But in the days, weeks, and eventual months that followed, Addison was often left with painful headaches and ongoing nausea, until doctors finally relented and ordered an MRI.

“I knew automatically when they asked for the contrast injection, you know they found something,” remembers Angel, who works in the medical field herself.

Doctors discovered a tumor wedged in a very rare location, in the middle of the four lobes of Addison's brain.

“He said we haven’t seen one in this location and we can’t even biopsy it,” Angel said.

This MRI shows the tumor inside 12-year-old Addison Babbs' brain
This MRI shows the tumor inside 12-year-old Addison Babbs' brain

“it’s devastating,” Angel added.

"Even if they biopsy, your daughter could lose function in her left arm or hand. It's hard to hear."

To this day, doctors still aren't sure of the tumor's origins, if it was caused by trauma related to the 2015 crash, or if the crash revealed a tumor that has been with Addison for years.

"When the doctors first told us, Addison was like, 'You know, God chose the right kid'," Angel explains.

When asked what she meant by that, Addison responded, "He chooses people that can do that, who can handle it."

Addison's mother wasn't surprised by her daughter's reaction.

"She knew she'd be OK. If something happens, she knows where she's going and she's OK with it."

Medically, Addison's parents were left with only two choices, to continue monitoring the tumor with continual MRIs and blood tests, and through prayer.

12-year-old Addison Babbs during one of her many visits to M.D. Anderson Cancer Center
12-year-old Addison Babbs during one of her many visits to M.D. Anderson Cancer Center

Since it's discovery in nearly four years ago, Addison's parents say the tumor has not grown.

Addison continues to play softball, most recently with the Bossier City travel team G1 Impact.

“As hard as she works, you never hear an excuse out of her,” comments Head Coach Jamie Burns.

But Addison admits, sometimes playing through it, can be hard.

“Sometimes during softball games, my head will start throbbing. I try to tough it out,” Addison said.

G1, along with Calvary softball, held a fundraiser for Addison, a home run hitting contest. Money raised with help the family pay for medical expenses.

Dozens participated, including many players from opposing teams.

“What I hope most of all,” Jamie said. “Is that she sees, no matter what is going on in her life, she’s not alone.”

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