A little Brandon girl whose courage touched everyone around her lost her battle against an aggressive brain tumor Wednesday, Feb. 22.
At an Ash Wednesday Mass at St. Stephen Catholic School, the Rev. Emery Longanga solemnly announced that Tatumn Woodworth had died.
"May God welcome her with open arms," said Father Emery, the parochial vicar at St. Stephen who spent time with the little girl and her family during her six-month illness.
Friends say Tatumn, the daughter of Scott and Bonnie Woodworth of Brandon, was a happy, healthy 3-year-old before .
It took two antibiotics to take the edge off the infection but Tatumn still suffered from nausea with intermittent vomiting and general imbalance while standing and walking.
So, on Sept. 10, Tatumn entered All Children's Hospital in St. Petersburg where the family received devastating news. Tatumn was diagnosed with a brain stem glioma (DIPG), an aggressive inoperable tumor in her brain stem.
While Tatumn underwent radiation treatments, friends and fellow parishioners at St. Stephen rallied around the family to not only pray but to raise funds for little Tatum's medical expenses.
Tears flowed as parishioners received the sad news Wednesday.
On a Caring Bridge page for Tatumn, her mother posted an announcement of her death, saying the little girl had died peacefully surrounded by her parents, two sisters and brother.
"My heart is just broken and I marvel at the bravery and strong will she has shown. She knew for a while she was done with treatment and also seemed to know she was going to heaven soon. That, of course, makes me even sadder," wrote Bonnie Woodworth. "We miss her terribly already but are trying to find comfort in the pure happiness she is enjoying in heaven."
Bonnie Woodworth also thanked the community for its support over the past six months.
"Scott and I have been blessed by such strong and helpful kids and a wonderful community of support both near and far," she wrote. "We are so thankful."
Funeral plans were not available at press time.