A fundraising benefit will be held in Exeter this Sunday for Exeter High School sophomore Ilyssa Intessimone, who was diagnosed with a brain tumor in November.
"Ilyssa is quiet and mature with a thoughtful demeanor," said Julie Grillone, Intessimone's mother. "She is extremely intelligent and a wonderful friend.
"She is very adventurous, enjoys traveling and has expressed interest in someday becoming a plastic surgeon," said Grillone. "She has always been very healthy."
There were no warning signs associated with Intessimone's tumor, until the teenager suffered a major seizure while getting ready for school on the morning of Sept. 28.
Intessimone was rushed to St. John's Hospital-Cassville, where physicians transferred her to St. John's Hospital-Springfield.
"They found a shadowed area on the right side of her brain," said Grillone. "She was given seizure medication and resumed her normal activities."
Intessimone has been involved in cheerleading for the last four years and is currently a member of the Exeter High School cheerleading squad.
"She felt like herself until the morning of Nov. 7 when she displayed pre-seizure signs," said Grillone. "Her pediatric neurosurgeon was immediately contacted and the family was directed to Springfield."
As the family journeyed from Exeter to Cassville, Intessimone had a second major seizure. Intessimone was taken directly to the emergency room at St. John's Hospital-Cassville where she suffered a third seizure.
Hospital personnel trans-ferred Intessimone from Cassville to St. John's Hospital-Springfield by ambulance.
On Nov. 9, Intessimone underwent surgery and doctors removed a large portion of the tumor on her brain.
"Due to the delicate location of the tumor, a tiny portion had to be left behind," said Grillone. "The tumor was found to be malignant."
Although Intessimone had serious complications during surgery, physicians were optimistic about her recovery time.
After spending several days in the pediatric intensive care unit at St. John's Hospital-Springfield, Intessimone was transferred to an in-patient room and then released from the hospital in mid-November.
Further treatments are scheduled to be held at a children's hospital in St. Louis. The family is currently waiting for Intessimone's pathology reports and diagnosis.
A benefit dinner, hosted by the Exeter Volunteer Fire Department, family members and friends, will be held in the Exeter School cafeteria from 11:30 a.m. to 5 p.m. on Dec. 10.
The fire department will begin serving meals of pork loin or roast beef with vegetables, a dessert and a drink at 11:30 a.m. Musical entertainment will begin in the Exeter School gymnasium at 1 p.m.
Music groups performing at the benefit include: Masters 3, 1 p.m.; Timberline, 2 p.m.; Chase Ennis, 3 p.m.; and Point South, 4 p.m.
A silent auction will be held in the Exeter School commons area, which is located outside the gymnasium entrance, during the event. Bids can be placed between 11:30 a.m. and 2:45 p.m. Auction items have been donated by local merchants and individuals.
The benefit is open to the public, and there are no admission costs. Donations will be accepted throughout the event. Funds raised during the benefit will be used to help pay Intessimone's medical expenses.
"Ilyssa needs everyone praying for her," said Grillone.
Cards of encouragement can be sent to Intessimone at P.O. Box 125, Exeter MO 65647. An account has also been established for Intessimone at Security Bank of Southwest Missouri.
Intessimone, daughter of Ted Intessimone, has lived in Exeter with her mother and brother, D.J., for the last 13 years. She has attended the Exeter School District since she began kindergarten.