Skylar May Ebanks, known as “Mimi,” who is only 19 months old, has been battling brain cancer for much of her life.
Diagnosed with the disease at six weeks old, the child has undergone surgeries at Miami Children’s Hospital and at St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital in Memphis, Tennessee, as well as six rounds of chemotherapy.
Currently, Mimi does not show any evidence of the disease. However, her struggle is far from over as she will have to undergo physical, occupational and speech therapy. Since there is very little insurance coverage for these therapies, the struggle is made more difficult.
The disease, as well as the extensive treatment that Mimi has undergone, has left her with side effects. “She has left-side weakness due to the tumor damage,” said her mother Mechon. “She is also physically and cognitively delayed. She lost half her hearing from Cisplatin, a chemo drug, and she has oral aversion, so she is tube feeding.”
Despite these challenges, Mimi remains a happy, smiling baby, who enjoys meeting new people.
Mimi’s disease has affected the family tremendously. “Our lives changed; it’s a very humbling experience,” said Mechon. “We learned to live by faith. We learned to be creative with seeking information. We formed long-lasting, deeply rooted relationships with other cancer families. We became medical pros, not by choice but by experience.”
Osetra Bay and Cayman’s Acts of Random Kindness (ARK) are partnering for two events to raise money for Mimi. The “Mingle and Jingle for Mimi” events on Feb. 4 and Feb. 25 are part of Osetra Bay’s “Mingle and Jingle” evenings held every Wednesday to allow not-for-profit organizations to raise funds at the restaurant.
At the “Mingle and Jingle for Mimi” events, patrons can enjoy two courses as well as a “Mimi-mosa” to complement the meal, for $40, of which $5 will go to ARK. The organization will assist Mimi with getting the treatment she requires for her recovery. Patrons of Osetra Bay may also make donations throughout February in a donation box at the restaurant. There is also a “Life Tree” on which notes of encouragement and well wishes can be written for Mimi and her family.
“ARK is delighted to receive support from Osetra Bay in our efforts to assist precious ‘Miracle Mimi’ and her family,” said Tara Nielsen, founder of Cayman’s ARK.
“Childhood cancer steals time, money and energy from families,” said Mimi’s mother. “Childhood cancer takes away the lives of beautiful, innocent children, and that needs to stop. A cure needs to be found.”
The family have had personal experience with the loss of a fellow cancer patient who “became family” while they were at St. Jude. “She died not because of cancer, but from blood-infection as a cumulative effect of the treatment,” Mechon said. “That affected our family deeply.
“The treatment, which is supposed to ‘cure’ our kids, could be the killer. We need to find a cure that does not take away hair or hearing or lives.”
To make reservations in advance, email [email protected] or call 325-5000.