Toddler loses long battle with cancer | TahoeDailyTribune.com
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Toddler loses long battle with cancer

RHONDA COSTA-LANDERS, Appeal Features Writer

Takota Miller, the young son of Sheldon and Lisa Miller, of Dayton, has lost his long battle with cancer. Takota died Thursday morning, just 11 days shy of his third birthday.

Takota’s battle against cancer began when he was just 15 months old. He was diagnosed with a brain tumor and hydrocephalous.

Hydrocephalous results when the normal flow of cerebrospinal fluid is interrupted. It may result from developmental problems, infection, trauma or brain tumors.



Family friend Alyce Volberding, who has not met Lisa but spoken with her for more than a year over the phone, notified the Nevada Appeal of Takota’s death.

“He was at home, with his parents when he died,” said Volberding. “Hospice was at the home, he was comfortable and at peace. He just stopped breathing.”




Takota was examined by magnetic resonance imaging the first of August, which showed tumors along the full length of his spine. An experimental surgery was discussed, which may have extended his life three months, but for the Millers it was not an option.

“There was nothing the doctors could do to shrink the tumors,” said Volberding, whose 8-year-old son Tobin recently completed chemotherapy for a brain tumor.

In February 1999, Takota was taken to a University of Davis medical center in Sacramento and scheduled to undergo surgery to remove the tumor and install a shunt to drain fluid from his brain into his stomach.

But there was a problem. The tumor was located next to the optical nerve near the learning portion of the brain. The doctors chose not to perform the surgery and only installed the shunt.

Takota had good days and bad and even made a noticeable improvement in June of 1999 when therapy was helping shrink the tumor. At that time, according to Richard Miller, Takota’s grandfather, Takota had “a 2 percent chance of living until the age of 5 and the chances of him being a vegetable were very good.” Even so, the family kept faith.

“I know Lisa and Sheldon are still in shock at this time. But, they are also in dire financial need. They still have outstanding medical bills and now they need to pay for Takota’s burial. Walton’s has been kind enough to donate the casket, but the family still needs to pay for the burial plot.

“I am asking for the community’s help in sending donations to help the Millers cover this cost.”

Volberding said the family was able to make a trip to Disneyland over the Labor Day weekend, through a charity group.

“He got to go to Disneyland, but he progressively got worse after returning.”

A fund has been established in Takota’s name at the Greater Nevada Credit Union. The account number is 776143. Donations may be made at any branch.


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