Brice Worley is a fighter who refuses to give up on his dreams.
The Batavia High School junior was diagnosed with a brain tumor three years ago, and after being in partial remission for over two years, a new tumor was discovered in June.
Yet the 16-year-old isn’t letting his diagnosis stop him from pursuing his goal of becoming an emergency medical technician. The Batavia Fire Department is working on a program specifically designed for Brice that will allow him to complete EMT training courses and become certified in a shorter amount of time.
“I wanted to give back,” Brice said about why he wants to be an EMT. “I remember when I had to put trust in the EMTs when I had to ride in the back of an ambulance. I want to experience that and to have people trust in me. After I started riding in the ambulance, I thought it would be a good career choice. I’m good with people, so I think I’d be good at it and I’m ready to start the training.”
The Batavia Fire Department hosted Brice’s family for dinner recently so members of the department could learn more about his goals for EMT training.
Firefighter Brian DiNicola, who has been working with the family on developing a program for Brice, said the department is working out the details to get him certified.
“We’re still working on logistics, perhaps an abbreviated EMT class,” he said. “It’s not entirely wrapped up, and we’re still in the first part of the planning stage of a personalized program. His circumstances may be more challenging, but we’ll see what we can do to accommodate him. But this is great for him and his family to see his goals and expectations be met.”
Brice’s mother, Tami Wilson, said she’s thrilled about this opportunity for her son.
“The way I see it, what an awesome experience for him,” she said. “We’re just living life. Every single day I give thanks that he’s here. You never know when they’ll find a cure. They can tell us the tumor will keep growing, but they don’t know that. He is a miracle.”
Brice is currently on a chemotherapy medication to keep the new tumor stable, and to give him the “best quality of life as possible,” Wilson said.
“Our hopes and prayers are to give him at least three more years so he can graduate from high school and work,” she said. “Our hopes are for him to go through a program and get EMT certified so he can work. He wants to work so badly.”
Brice’s cancer journey began in the fall of 2019 when he was an eighth grader at Rotolo Middle School. After Wilson found her son collapsed on the floor, he was rushed to the hospital and diagnosed with a stroke after doctors saw blood in his brain in an MRI. His symptoms didn’t go away and doctors continued to see fluid in his brain. He was diagnosed with an astrocytoma, a type of brain tumor, after undergoing further tests.
Chemotherapy and radiation have kept that tumor at bay. This summer, a second tumor was discovered. Wilson said Brice has kept a positive attitude throughout most of the ordeal, but the recent diagnosis was harder at first for him to accept.
“For the first time (since the initial diagnosis), there was anger, we were both mad. For a few weeks, we lost a little bit of faith and it was hell,” she said. “But his oncologist told us recently that she’s impressed with how well he’s responding (to his current treatment). She told him to start planning for his future.”
Despite his diagnosis, Brice said he’s trying to remain positive.
“I’ve learned to accept that I’m living with (brain cancer),” he said. “I’m trying to be inspiring to others. I’ve learned to honor it. I’m accepting of it and come to terms with it. But right now, I’m living like a normal 16-year-old. You can’t dwell in sadness.”