Community rallies around child diagnosed with rare brain cancer in Mount Clemens

‘You can’t even really explain the feeling when it first happens, there’s no way to process your child has terminal cancer and is dying’

Three-year-old Elowyn Pollard has people across Southeast Michigan praying and offering up their support after she was diagnosed with DIPG, which stands for Diffuse Intrinsic Pontine Glioma. It’s sadly familiar to many Michiganders because it’s what University of Michigan Coach Lloyd Carr’s grandson died from.

MOUNT CLEMENS, Mich. – Three-year-old Elowyn Pollard has people across Southeast Michigan praying and offering up their support after she was diagnosed with DIPG, which stands for Diffuse Intrinsic Pontine Glioma.

It’s sadly familiar to many Michiganders because it’s what University of Michigan Coach Lloyd Carr’s grandson died from.

DIPG is terminal, and the diagnosis has put the Pollard family into what feels like a vortex.

“I think your brain fractures,” said mom April Malak-Pollard. “I think it’s the best way to explain it.”

She and her husband are both attorneys.

Husband Justin Pollard is an assistant Macomb County prosecutor, and Malak-Pollard is an attorney in private practice.

On Monday (Aug. 15) night, the legal community from Southeast Michigan packed Madison’s Pub in Mt. Clemens for a fundraiser for the family.

Elowyn Pollard will be starting daily radiation at Mott Children’s Hospital this week, but her parents are hopeful she’ll qualify for a clinical trial out west.

“You can’t say thank you enough to everybody because the outpouring of support is unbelievable,” said Justin Pollard.

The Pollards knew something was wrong with their middle child around 18 months as she suddenly lost language skills. It turned into a carousel of doctors.

“A certain part of it, you are so angry because we fought for so long to get help for our child,” April Malak-Pollard said. “We had to fight doctors, and we kept going to specialists all over Michigan.”

Upon getting the diagnosis, the family hit the internet.

The first thing that popped up was the ChadTough Foundation which the Carr family started to help parents dealing with the same hellish diagnosis.

The help it’s provided and the C.S. Mott Children’s Hospital team have been a lifeline.

“You can’t even really explain the feeling when it first happens, April Malak-Pollard said. “There’s no way to process your child has terminal cancer and is dying.”

The Pollards are determined to fight, although they are clear-eyed about what lies ahead.

“One of these children are going to fight this, and that’s where Elowyn is special,” Justin Pollard said. “She’s going to fight harder than anybody you have ever seen before, and if it’s not her, she’s going to lead the way showing that one of these children are going to be that silver bullet and that cure is going to happen.”

Gofundme has been set up to offset what will be incredible medical costs.


About the Authors:

Brandon Carr is a digital content producer for ClickOnDetroit and has been with WDIV Local 4 since November 2021. Brandon is the 2015 Solomon Kinloch Humanitarian award recipient for Community Service.