Brave Little Brody
CHASSELL – Brody Etelamaki affected many people’s lives in a positive way in the short time he was alive, according his mother, Tanya Etelamaki.
Brody, 4, died Tuesday after fighting pediatric brain cancer for just short of one year.
Etelamaki said Brody received treatment, including surgery, at St. Joseph’s Children’s Hospital in Marshfield, Wis., M.D. Anderson Cancer Center in Houston, Texas, and Mott Children’s Hospital at the University of Michigan in Ann Arbor.
“We bounced around a lot,” she said.
Brody has four siblings, and Etelamaki said some of them made trips for his treatment as well.
There were several fundraising events conducted to help cover the costs of the travel to those facilities. In addition, many churches conducted prayer services for Brody.
“It’s meant the world to us,” she said. “We couldn’t have gotten through the year without it. It just shows there’s still good people out there.”
Etelamaki said Brody was diagnosed April 21, 2013, with at least four tumors caused by a cancer called glioblastoma multiforme.
“It’s a very aggressive brain cancer,” she said.
Throughout his treatment, Etelamaki said Brody was in good spirits.
“He was a remarkable little boy,” she said. “He smiled through the whole thing.”
There will be a visitation for Brody from 9 a.m. to noon Monday at Saints Peter and Paul Lutheran Church in Houghton. Pastor Aaron Gehrke will provide a service following visitation. Burial will be in Chassell Cemetery in the spring.
Brody is survived by his mother, Tanya, father Douglas and siblings Ryan, Madeline, Ally and Lily.
Etelamaki said she and her husband, Douglas, intend to start a fund for pediatric cancer research as a way to bring awareness to childhood brain cancer.
“We’re going to set up a foundation in his memory,” she said.
Etelamaki said Brody influenced most of the people who knew him.
“In his four short years, he touched a lot of lives,” she said.