Area girl with brain tumor nears milestone she wasn’t expected to reach

Layla Evetts (left) and her friend, Lauryn, of Porter, are both 6 years old and are both patients at the MD Anderson Children’s Cancer Hospital. (MD Anderson photo)
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(KWTX) Just three days short of the first anniversary of a grim diagnosis, a Central Texas girl battling a terminal brain tumor has finished her last chemo infusion and is beating the odds.

Layla Evetts of Riesel and Joshua was diagnosed in February 2018 with diffuse intrinsic pontine glioma (DIPG), a very aggressive type of tumor at the base of the brain and at the time was given only nine months to live.

But the young girl has had plenty of encouraging news since starting a clinical trial and on Tuesday completed her last round of chemotherapy.

“A year ago we were staring a death sentence in the face,” Layla’s father, Corey Evetts said.

“Today we look back on a journey that has significantly molded our family and ultimately a journey that has helped Layla beat the odds against DIPG.”

Layla, who has an identical twin, has been part of a clinical trial at MD Anderson Cancer Center in Houston and has completed multiple rounds of IV and oral chemo, which has proven to be very successful.

“The first words out of Layla’s mouth were ‘Last day of chemo,’” Corey said.

“With a huge smile on her face,” he added.

An MRI last June showed that Layla’s tumor had shrunk by half and the imaging since then has showed the tumor has remained stable and not grown.

“In this battle, stability is winning,” her father said.

Layla has inspired many across Central Texas.

One giant fundraiser grossed more than $155,000.

And a high school football team asked the young girl to do the coin toss.

Layla will have her final MRI on March 18.

After that, she will return to the cancer center every three months for checkups.