, Salem, MA

Local News

December 23, 2013

Ill girl, 6, gets a trip to cheer about

Fundraising efforts send Beverly cheerleader, team to Gillette Stadium


The rare form of cancer is called esthesioneuroblastoma, or ENB. Riley has been treated at both Boston Children’s Hospital and Dana-Farber Cancer Institute.

Fessenden said Riley’s prognosis is not good, with a recent scan showing the cancer has spread to her brain.

“At this point, there is not much they can do,” she said. “The radiation is to relieve pressure to the brain.”

Titan coach Kelli Roesener called Riley “the hardest-working girl on the team.”

Riley’s spirit is infectious to the rest the team, said assistant coach Jenn Burnett.

“She comes to every practice, even after treatments,” Burnett said. “She doesn’t say a word; she just cheers. She loves cheering.”

It was a difficult decision to decide whether to go to the event at the stadium. Many weren’t in the mood to celebrate.

“We had found out at the same time the prognosis for Riley wasn’t good,” Burnett said. “I spoke with Kamie, and she said that Riley’s face lit up about going.”

Fessenden said the trip to Gillette Stadium has helped take the family’s minds off the treatments and hospitals visits.

“It is unbelievable that she is having these opportunities to meet these famous people,” Fessenden said. “It keeps her spirits up.”

Burnett said Riley is an inspiration.

She is strong,” she said. “She is a fighter.”

Staff writer Jonathan Phelps can be reached at 978-338-2527 or by email at Follow him on Twitter at JPhelps_SN.

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