Tess Carpenter

A brain tumor shows Tess Carpenter has ...

CAPON BRIDGE — 16-year-old Tess Carpenter plays an important role in the Hampshire County community. She’s the president of FFA at the high school, she’s been inducted into the National Honor Society, she worked 2 part-time jobs and is very active in her church, Victory Church in Winchester.

Now, she needs a little bit of the community’s help.

Tess’ father Gary said that on Nov. 6, Tess had a serious seizure at school. She was taken to the hospital, and then transported from Romney to Winchester.

“She had an inoperable brain tumor,” explained Gary. “She was transported again from Winchester to UVA, and we were there for 6 days.”

Gary explained that doctors ran tests on Tess’ brain biopsy, and he is hopeful that they can find a genetic match for her tumor.

“If [the doctors] do certain tests and find a mutation match in the tumor, they can actually create medicine specifically for that tumor,” Gary said. “We took her to DC Children’s for a second opinion, and now DC Children’s and UVA are working together for treatment.”

Tess’ father detailed that there are several different avenues for treatment for the Capon Bridge teen, such as radiation, which Gary said was a “last resort” because of the potential side effects for someone Tess’ age.

IV chemotherapy weekly for 12 to 18 months is another option, but the treatment would be in UVA, and since it isn’t available closer to home, Gary said that there could possibly be a lot of driving in his family’s future.

The Carpenter family is most hopeful that the testing to find a genetic match for Tess’ tumor works, because then treatment could be administered easily.

“The goal is to stop the tumor from growing, and maybe shrink it, and the testing is very expensive,” Gary said. “There might be a daily pill that can be taken every day, like a vitamin, to attack just the tumor.

“It’s very possible God could bless us with the pill, but we won’t know until they actually give us the treatment plan.”

The Carpenters live in Capon Bridge, and Gary said that his family has always tried to give back to the community and help others in need.

“I’m not used to being on the other side of the fence,” Gary said.

Sherrard Auction House is hosting a spaghetti benefit dinner and auction for Tess on Jan. 25, and Gary said that they are selling “Team Tessa” t-shirts now to raise money for their daughter, and these shirts have the words “Faith can move mountains” on the back.   

“She’s been stronger than her mother and I throughout all of this. She has an incredible faith,” Gary said. “Her strength through this has surprised everyone. She always has a smile and a positive outlook. I’m very blessed to have a kid with that kind of faith.”

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