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Tuesday, May 3, 2016

Salem fifth-grader fights cancer

Thursday, March 25, 2004

Tournament raises $4,000 for Smith's medical bills

Salem Elementary School held a charity basketball tournament March 13 for Dennis Smith.

Smith, a fifth-grader, has an inoperable brain tumor. Sandy Massey, a speech pathologist at Salem Elementary school and a family friend, said Smith is undergoing chemotherapy treatment and is a candidate for brain stem cell treatment. She said this is Smith's second brain tumor.

His treatments are administered at Arkansas Children's Hospital in Little Rock.

She said the last two years have been hard on Dennis. "When Dennis was in the third grade he started experiencing severe headaches and blurred vision," Massey said. His physician recommended an examination at Children's and they found his first tumor.

Massey said the tumor was removed and he resumed his life. Finding the second tumor has been hard on Smith, his family, the school and everybody who cares about him, she said.

The tumor Smith suffers from is rare and is located in the frontal lobe of his brain. She said the illness hasn't affected his cognitive abilities, and he remains upbeat and hopeful.

Massey said Smith has been out of school since Christmas. Salem Elementary fifth grade teacher Corey Johnson tutors Smith at his home. He stays at home most of the time but has to go back to Children's for treatment when his blood counts are low.

The basketball tournament raised $4,000 for his medical bills. The event was organized by his fifth grade class. His parents are Tony and Kay Smith and his brother is Keith Smith, all of Salem.

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