MANDEVILLE, La. (WGNO) — A Mandeville girl is fighting a rare cancer, and her family is hoping a rare Jimmy Buffett painting will help with medical expenses.
Seven-year-old Marguerite Chenier was diagnosed one year ago with diffuse intrinsic pontine glioma (DIPG), a highly aggressive brain tumor.
Marguerite’s family says research shows between 200 and 300 children are diagnosed with DIPG each year, and fewer than 10% survive for more than two years beyond diagnosis.
Marguerite’s mother, Laurel Chenier, said, “Taking it one day at a time, one moment at a time.”
She said that they’ve done radiation and clinical trials, but now that the trials are done, it’s hard.
“We’re having to do everything off trial. Getting medications from Europe, and figuring out how to get it, and how to pay for it,” she said.
One way they are trying to help pay for medical expenses is with a painting titled “Busking Out: Becoming Jimmy Buffett,” painted by Garland Robinette.
“My mom came across the 2011 painting of the poster of Jimmy Buffett from Jazz Fest. My mom was a Garland Robinette fan, and my dad was a Jimmy Buffett fan. So, the painting was something they both loved,” Chenier said.
Marguerite’s grandparents bought the painting for around $16,000 about 10 years ago.
“The parallels have been uncanny. Jimmy Buffett died of a rare cancer, and Marguerite’s is rare,” said Marguerite’s grandmother Adele Foster.
“It seemed like a no brainer to auction the Jimmy Buffett painting. We had it. We love it, but the time was right. You can’t give up hope. Through funding, there will be hope. Through awareness, there will be hope,” Foster said.
The family said that more needs to be done to bring awareness and research to DIPG.
“Neil Armstrong’s daughter, the man who walked on the moon, his daughter died of DIPG. Still, here we are 61 years past and we still have no cure for this,” Foster said.
Through Jimmy Buffett, there is hope.
“It is different now every time I hear a Jimmy Buffett song. I think you know he’d be happy to help,” Chenier said.
Buffett died of a rare cancer in September of 2023.
Their greatest hope of all is for their baby girl.
“She’s beating the odds. Who knows what she could bring to the world?” Marguerite’s mother said.
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