Jackson County

Make-A-Wish grants trip to Vancleave girl fighting rare brain cancer

Ariana Farragut, 4, was granted her wish to go to Disneyland during a surprise gathering Tuesday night at Outback Steakhouse. The restaurant is helping with financial support for the trip. Ariana is fighting a rare form of brain cancer.
Ariana Farragut, 4, was granted her wish to go to Disneyland during a surprise gathering Tuesday night at Outback Steakhouse. The restaurant is helping with financial support for the trip. Ariana is fighting a rare form of brain cancer.

A Vancleave girl suffering from a form of rare brain cancer is seeing her wish come true thanks to Make-A-Wish Mississippi.

On Tuesday, employees and patrons at Outback Steakhouse exploded with applause when Ariana Farragut, 4, walked into the restaurant with her dad, Lee Farragut. She was holding a bouquet of flowers from her father but still didn’t know what was about to happen.

Soon, the child’s face filled with excitement when she learned Make-A-Wish Mississippi and the steakhouse are sending her to Walt Disney World in Orlando, Fla., where she’d get to meet one of her favorite characters, Belle.

Lee and Jenna Farragut said they plan to head to Orlando around Sept. 22 if Ariana’s doctors at St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital in Memphis, Tennessee, give Ariana clearance to go. Ariana currently has two tumors on her brain. One is considered stable while the other is shrinking from radiation, her family said.

“Outback Steakhouse and Make-A-Wish Mississippi went above and beyond for Ariana’s wish reveal tonight,” Jenna Farragut said.

In November 2014, doctors diagnosed Ariana, then 2, with a rare brain tumor known as atypical teratoid rhabdoid tumor, or ATRT.

Doctors found the tumor after Ariana had a fall and her parents took her to the doctor to ensure she hadn’t suffered a concussion because she was vomiting.

The same night, her parents learned she had a mass on her brain.

After her initial treatments upon diagnosis, Ariana was cancer-free for two years. Just before Christmas 2016, her family learned the cancer had returned.

Ariana has undergone at least six surgeries, the first of which was the same day of her initial diagnosis because of fluid that had built up in her brain.

Her treatment has also included radiation and chemotherapy.

In a June update on Ariana’s condition, her mother said the tumor had not grown in size, but the cancer is incurable and could form in other parts of her brain.

“Outback Steakhouse is so proud to be a part of all our local Make-A-Wish reveals and hope we can continue to be a helping hand with them,” the steakhouse manager, Ryne Vargocko, said in a statement.

To help the family with medical expenses, donations may be made to Ariana’s GoFundMe account. To keep up with Ariana’s progress, visit her Facebook page, Prayers for Ariana.

Margaret Baker: 228-896-0538, @Margar45

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