HOMER TOWNSHIP -- The grandfather of an Amish girl whose parents stopped chemotherapy at Akron Children's Hospital wants to set the record straight, he tells WKYC.
Isaac Keim Sr., the grandfather of Sarah Hershberger, says the family's main concern is getting the fact out that the parents aren't denying their daughter treatment and that she has had treatment at a hospital in Central America.
They do not want Akron Children's Hospital to treat her. The chemo they gave her made the girl very sick, so they went for alternative care.
They are keeping her in hiding for fear of the hospital/authorities taking Sarah away.
Keim is a cancer survivor himself. He had surgery to have a tumor removed. Then, instead of a more radical surgery, he started "natural treatment" for his cancer. He's been cancer-free for over a year, he said.
He says the family took Sarah to a hospital in Central America where she went through treatment. She has been checked at a clinic and they said she was cancer-free.
Sarah celebrated her 11th birthday on Thanksgiving.
The family has a private meeting scheduled next week with the guardian.
Keim said the natural treatments consist of vitamins and herbs, but wouldn't go into detail.
He said Sarah had been scheduled for 27 months on an experimental chemo treatment that was broken down into fivephases. She went through the first phase, which made her sicker. The second phase was to be done through a spinal port. They had to put her to sleep to establish the port. She had one treatment through the port and it really made her sick.
Keim said a visiting nurse brought 3 "chemo booster" shots to their home and told the parents the drugs she was getting could actually give her cancer.
Keim says that's when they stopped treatment and went "natural."
When they said they were taking her off chemo, they offered to let Akron Children's Hospital monitor her progress on the natural treatments. Keim also said that, if she got worse or the cancer returns, they will take her to Akron Children's.
But Keim says that as of today, Sarah is a vibrant, healthy 11-year-old girl.
He also says the family is in hiding to prevent the court/guardian from taking Sarah away. He also stressed that the family is not keeping Sarah from getting treatments for her cancer. They just aren't getting treatments at Akron Children's Hospital.
WKYC asked that, if they get things resolved with the courts and the guardian, would they allow Akron Children's to check her out and monitor her progress on natural remedies? Keim said the family is not sure because of what Akron Children's did to them by taking them to court.
Keim said "lots of trust was lost here."