CHICAGO — May is Brain Tumor Awareness Month. A family from Lindenhurst is now sharing the journey of their now 7-year-old daughter in hopes of raising awareness this month and all year round.

Looking at 7-year-old Rylynn Peters, you would never know she underwent brain surgery at just 3 years old. Diagnosed with a rare, slow-growing childhood brain tumor known as a benign Juvenile pilocytic astrocytoma, Rylynn underwent emergency 7-hour surgery just days after complaining of a headache.

WGN News Now spoke with Rylynn and her mother, Lisa Peters, about this journey and their message to others.

“Life can change in a heartbeat, and we learned that the hard way,” said Lisa. “You just don’t know what to expect from a headache, a brain tumor. So, we raise awareness because we’ve been there, we’ve seen it, and we want to be there like our community was for us.”

“It’s important to diagnosis this early,” said Dr. John Ruge, Rylynn’s neurosurgeon with Advocate Children’s Hospital. “And for people to be aware of the signs and symptoms to monitor and check into with their children.”

Dr. Ruge says any kind of unusual headache should be of concern. He explained looking at a series of over 500 children with brain tumors and what was unique about their headaches between all of them was vomiting.

“If you have a headache that’s associated with vomiting in a child, it does not mean they have a brain tumor, but it means you should be talking to your pediatrician,” said Dr. Ruge.

Now Rylynn is a happy, active little girl. She will continue having MRIs through age 10 to monitor her brain and check for any abnormalities.

“Rylynn’s chapter in her book of life woke us up. We always knew life is extremely precious, but we still took a lot for granted,” said Lisa. “Rylynn is the blueprint of a brain tumor warrior – strength, kindness and faith.”