Grace's battle with cancer

January 30, 1999|By Linell Smith

Tomorrow night, television viewers can learn about the poignantly vivid life of Grace Anne Ossing, a Catonsville girl who spent the four years of her life fighting a deadly brain cancer.

This week's episode of ``The Operation,'' which airs at 7 p.m. and 11 p.m. Sunday on The Learning Channel, shows the final brain surgery Grace had in 1997 at Johns Hopkins Hospital. The operation is performed and explained by renowned pediatric neurosurgeon Ben Carson.

Although the majority of the hour-long video is devoted to the surgery itself, the documentary also explores Grace's life before and after the operation. Her parents, Megan and Dan Ossing, hope the documentary will empower other parents of seriously ill children to take more control of their treatment and care.

``I think of this documentary as Grace's gift to people,'' says Megan Ossing, a pharmacist with the AIDS clinical trial group at Hopkins. ``The more people she can touch, the more meaningful her life becomes. There are so many things that Gracie gave to us. And I hope that in knowing about her, people can get a sense of perspective on life, even hug their kids tighter when they go to bed.''

The Ossings also hope the show will help raise the $750,000 necessary to endow the Grace Anne Ossing Fellowship at Hopkins, a program for researching pediatric brain cancer. To contribute, write checks to the Johns Hopkins Oncology Center/Ossing Fellowship, and send them to the Johns Hopkins Oncology Center, Grace Anne Ossing Fellowship, 550 N. Broadway, Suite 801, Baltimore 21205. For details, call 410-955-2583.

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