kprc logo

Pearland family shines ‘super nova’ light on pediatric brain cancer following daughter’s diagnosis

September is Childhood Cancer Awareness Month

At the age of 4, Nova was diagnosed with pineoblastoma, a rare form of brain cancer.
At the age of 4, Nova was diagnosed with pineoblastoma, a rare form of brain cancer. (Bobbie Baker)

PEARLAND, Texas – While pediatric cancer is considered rare, for the Baker family it is a daily reality. After her 4 year old daughter Nova’s battle with brain cancer, Bobbie Baker has made it her mission to not just shine a light on the cause, but a supernova.

“Nova is a perfect amount of princess and grit,” said Baker. “She spent a time throughout her toddler years where she only wanted to wear big frilly princess dresses, and even in those dresses she would be out digging for worms.”

Nova as a toddler wearing one of her favorite frilly princess dresses. (Bobbie Baker)

In 2019, a seemingly innocuous occurrence flipped the Baker family’s world upside down.

“Nova’s eye went inward, and I knew immediately that something was wrong because she doesn’t know how to do that herself,” said Baker.

Baker scheduled an appointment for Nova with an opthamologist, where they discovered something was applying pressure on Nova’s brain. After consulting with a pediatric neurosurgeon, Baker received the grim news.

At the age of 4, Nova was diagnosed with pineoblastoma, a rare form of brain cancer. (Bobbie Baker)

“Our pediatric neurosurgeon came in to tell us that our daughter has Pineoblastoma. It’s a very rare type of brain tumor,” said Baker. “That was like being in an elevator that just drops.”

Baker and her family had two days to come to grips with their reality and prepare for Nova’s surgery.

“I just told Nova to be brave. Come back to us, and you know, I’m praying. I was praying,” said Baker.

The surgery was a success with nearly 100% resection of the tumor. Unfortunately for the Baker family, their journey was just beginning. Nova was scheduled for another surgery to prep her for radiation treatment, of which she received 30 doses in addition to four rounds of chemotherapy.

At the age of 4, Nova was diagnosed with pineoblastoma, a rare form of brain cancer. (Bobbie Baker)

“It’s like we practically lived at the hospital,” said Baker. “You’re seeing other families and children go through the same thing, so you know that you’re not alone. It’s just a whole other world that I never knew existed.”

But for Baker, one of the most unbelievable parts of the entire experience was seeing her four-year-old daughter’s strength and resilience.

“She always tried to stay positive. This child in between all of this was still trying to be a four-year-old,” said Baker.

At the age of 4, Nova was diagnosed with pineoblastoma, a rare form of brain cancer. (Bobbie Baker)

Now, Baker has made it her mission to raise awareness and funds for pediatric brain cancer.

“I am so grateful, and I feel that gratitude is an action,” said Baker. “My dear friend Lauren and I are co-chairs of Houston’s first Starry Night event, which we are super excited about.”

She hopes that people will realize that childhood cancer is not as rare as it seems, and that everyone has the ability to do something.

Nova pictured with her father Justin (left) and mother Bobbie (right) on her last day of chemotherapy. (Bobbie Baker)

“What you do can make such a big difference in the future,” said Baker. “Starry Night is a perfect opportunity for you to show up and support our children, families and to raise funds to make a difference.”

The free virtual Starry Night Houston Walk to Cure Childhood Brain Tumors will take place Saturday, October 2 at 6:30 p.m. KPRC 2′s Sofia Ojeda will emcee the event. Guests are asked to participate by walking alone or in small socially-distanced groups. Donations will support the Pediatric Brain Tumor Foundation.

At the age of 4, Nova was diagnosed with pineoblastoma, a rare form of brain cancer. (Bobbie Baker)

For the full story, watch the video above. For more information or to register, click here.


About the Author:

Olivia Kolanek is the Features Producer of KPRC 2's Houston Life. She joined the KPRC family in the summer of 2019 after working in non-profit communications for three years. She is passionate about creating content that features good people, good food or a good story. Olivia is a University of Houston alumna, Audible junkie and scuba novice.