BIDDEFORD — Six-year-old Brock Chadwick curls up on the couch and giggles as he challenges a visitor not to laugh at the funny YouTube videos playing on his hand-held device. His little sister, Aubri-Ella, 3, spins and jumps beside them.

A long incision across his forehead and temple is the only outward sign of what the friendly first-grader has gone through in recent weeks, and of the treatments that lie ahead.

“He is a brave little boy,” said his mother, Brittney Horton.

Brock, his sister and his mother live with Horton’s parents, Melanie and Clay Rocker. Friends and neighbors are now rallying around the family as Brock prepares for six weeks of radiation and chemotherapy in a Boston hospital for a rare and aggressive form of brain cancer.

Six-year-old Brock Chadwick watches a video while lounging at his home in Biddeford. He had tumors removed from his brain two weeks ago and now faces six weeks of radiation and chemotherapy in a Boston hospital for a rare and aggressive form of cancer.

The family’s world turned upside down three weeks ago when Brock failed to recover from flu-like symptoms and complained of stomach and head pain. Brock’s illness had followed several troubling months, when the usually happy-go-lucky, eager-to-learn first-grader began to have behavior issues at Biddeford Primary School.

A doctor at Southern Maine Health Care’s Walk-In Care clinic in Saco immediately suspected a brain tumor and sent Brock to Southern Maine Health Care, where tests confirmed her suspicions. A full body scan the next day at Maine Medical Center in Portland detected several brain tumors and a possible tumor in Brock’s spine.


A few days later, on Feb. 28, the state’s only pediatric neurosurgeon in Maine, Dr. James Wilson, removed the tumors in a three-hour operation at Maine Med. The tumors, including one the size of a tennis ball, turned out to be high-grade glioma, an aggressive form of brain cancer.

Brock is a bit distracted as he sits with his mother, Brittney Horton, in their living room. Brock has been diagnosed with high-grade glioma, an aggressive form of brain cancer that affects about 150 children annually in North America, according to the AboutSickKids website.

About 150 children in North America are diagnosed with it annually, according to the AboutSickKids website, operated by The Hospital for Sick Children in Toronto. There is no known cause, although scientists have found genetic abnormalities associated with it.

Brock returned home a couple of days after his surgery and is resting up for the next part of his treatment, which will include radiation and chemotherapy at Boston Children’s Hospital. Horton said Brock will spend at least six weeks there.

Back home, Brock is returning to the happy little boy his little sister adores and calls her best friend. He is eating and enjoying his favorite treats: smoothies, vanilla ice cream and Hershey’s chocolate bars.

Brock receives medical insurance through MaineCare, which is Maine’s version of Medicaid. Horton, an unemployed cosmetology student, said she doesn’t know how she will pay for all the extra costs associated with the treatment, such as her own housing in Boston or the little things, like the button-down shirts the family bought Brock to spare him the pain of pulling a T-shirt over his incision site.

“There are so many things you don’t think of,” Brock’s grandmother said.


Brock underwent three hours of brain surgery two weeks ago, leaving a long incision across his forehead and temple.

Family members and friends have jumped in to help. Horton’s brother, Joe Carson, researched and set up an account on the YouCaring Internet funding site that had raised $4,910 as of Monday night.

Family friend Michael Mieyal is organizing the Team Brock Fundraiser at the American Legion Hall in Manchester-by-the-Sea, Massachusetts, where the family lived for a decade before moving to Maine two years ago.

“They have a large group of friends and this is a close-knit community,” Mieyal said.

The event is scheduled for 6-11 p.m. March 25. Tickets are $30 at the door, or $25 in advance. Information on how to obtain advance tickets is available at the Team Brock Fundraiser Facebook page.

Meanwhile, the family is trying to keep a positive outlook, staying away from the internet and the temptation to try to read up on Brock’s illness.

“We were told Google is not your friend,” Melanie Rocker said.


Horton said the family knows Brock has the best doctors. They understand the consequences of the radiation treatment, which may leave Brock, who reads at an advanced level, with learning disabilities.

“It’s just another thing,” Horton said.

Horton takes great comfort from the outpouring of support for her son.

“Everyone is helping lift this sorrow and pressure from my shoulders and heart,” she said.

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