Hunter Barr, 4, from Falmouth was recently diagnosed with a rare and aggressive brain tumor. He’s pictured here with his father, Ryan Barr. Contributed

FALMOUTH — As 4-year-old Hunter Barr starts treatment for a rare, aggressive and cancerous brain tumor this week, the local community has rallied around him and his family, helping to raise nearly $150,000 in a little over 10 days.

A GoFundMe page was set up after Barr’s diagnosis earlier this month to help his family cover the mounting medical bills, as well as seek out possible clinical trials that could extend their son’s life.

The page, entitled “The Hunt for a DIPG Cure,” has a goal of raising at least $200,000 for Hunter’s care.

Hunter Barr is a big sports fan and is also “perceptive and curious,” according to a family member. Contributed

Diffuse Intrinsic Pontine Glioma, or DIPG, is a pediatric tumor that impacts the brain stem, according to St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital. There is no cure and the cancer represents only about 10% to 20% of all childhood brain tumors.

The St. Jude’s website said DIPG, which presents with fast-growing tumors, mostly impacts children between the ages of 5 and 10. Symptoms include difficulty with balancing and walking, problems with chewing and swallowing, nausea and vomiting, morning headaches and facial weakness.

The most common course of treatment is radiation, which is designed to shrink the tumor. Nick Fasulo, spokesman for the Barr family, said Hunter was set to begin a six-week radiation regimen at Brigham and Woman’s Hospital in Boston on Dec. 19.

Fasulo, who is a cousin of Hunter’s mother, Natalie Barr, said the little boy has “a real sense of humor” and is “very perceptive and curious.”

He said Hunter and his younger brother, Griffin, 3, “do everything together (and) both are into every sport, literally every sport.”

“When it’s winter it’s playing hockey and watching the Bruins, summer it’s baseball in the backyard and learning the game of golf with his grandpa, dad and Uncle Cam (and in the) fall it’s rooting on the Patriots.”

Along with the GoFundMe effort, the Barr family has also set up a page on CaringBridge that provides updates about Hunter’s condition and to share any needs or comfort items he or his family may have as his treatment progresses.

“It’s been amazing to see how a network of family and friends from Maine and beyond so quickly answered the bell to support us in any way they can,” Natalie Barr said. “We truly could not be more appreciative.”

Barr graduated from Falmouth High School in 2004 and is now raising her family in the same community where she grew up.

The messages of support on GoFundMe include many thoughts and prayers for Hunter’s full recovery, including from someone who was also once diagnosed with a childhood brain tumor.

Other messages shared how “heartbreaking” and unfair it is for a child Hunter’s age to be facing such a daunting illness. Donations range from $5 up to $1,000 and this week the family said they are grateful for any and all contributions.

“The road ahead will be met with many unknowns that could lead Hunter to a number of different experts across the country,” the GoFundMe page states. “Please continue to share his story, as all donations will be put towards the non-covered expenses associated with Hunter’s care on this long and difficult journey ahead.”

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