CHARLOTTE, N.C. — A 3-year-old girl in Charlotte had to spend Christmas in the hospital after doctors found a massive brain tumor in the back of her head.

  • Isabella Beltran, 3, was recently diagnosed with medulloblastoma, which is a rare brain tumor
  • She spent Christmas in the hospital as doctors worked to remove the tumor and start treatment
  • GoFundMe page has been set up to help Isabella's parents cover medical expenses

It was news that was a shock to Isabella's parents.

Just a few months ago she was dressed up for Halloween, just like every other child. She seemed perfectly normal, but everything changed toward the end of November.

"My mom said, 'hey Isabella has a headache,' and I didn’t think too much of it," Isabella's father, Javier Beltran said.

She also started vomiting and began to look cross-eyed.

At first doctors thought it wasn’t anything serious, but then the family asked for a second opinion. That’s when the result of a CAT scan came in.

"He [the doctor] said, your daughter has the biggest mass in her head and it’s really big," said Isabella's mother, Karen Beltran.

Doctors diagnosed her with medulloblastoma, which is a rare brain tumor.

"You never expect a healthy kid to have a big mass in the head, being so healthy and everything," Javier said. "It happened just in a minute."

Doctors worked hard to remove the tumor and Isabella was then put on chemotherapy.

Dealing with all this can be tough, especially during the holidays.

"She loved Christmas, it’s her holiday," said Javier.

Instead of being at home, Isabella spent Christmas at Levine Children’s Hospital. A nurse even got her a Christmas tree.

"That was so special," Karen said. "She was like, wow."

Isabella’s parents say they used up their vacation time at work and are now taking unpaid leave. They're worried how long they'll be able to keep their health insurance.

"I need my insurance so that kind of puts me in a bind now," Karen said.

But even as medical bills pile up, their daughter is their real focus.

"I don’t know what is going to happen," Javier said. "I am just with her, and we will just see later what is going to happen."

Javier and Karen say they are lucky they caught the brain tumor early on, because if it had spread to the spinal cord Isabella would have had a much lower chance of surviving.

"She is an example for other parents, if they have those symptoms, ask for a CT scan right way, fight for it," Javier said.

A GoFundMe page has been set up for the family to help cover medical bills. 

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