Tess Richards was born in New York City in 2014 and moved to Maryland the following year. She became a sibling in 2015 when her special sister-sidekick was born and had a loving bond with her little brother who joined the family in 2017. She loved animals, collecting treasures from nature, making art, and all manners of action and fun—like dancing, swimming, running, riding her mountain bike, and singing at the top of her lungs. She was magical, talented, and full of beauty and surprises. Tess was a cherished daughter and an adored big sister, granddaughter, niece, big cousin, student, and friend.
Tess was diagnosed with diffuse intrinsic pontine glioma (DIPG) on June 8, 2021. After completing radiation over the summer, she was stable enough to start second grade independently and experience her Make-A-Wish trip, plus a few days in Disneyworld, in September. Attending school and clinic appointments became more challenging as the year ended and her symptoms progressed, but one highlight was the art show her family hosted featuring dozens of canvases painted and designed by Tess. She still enjoyed the company of her dog, Cricket, and her loved ones, strolls outside, and many creative pursuits. There was one more Christmas, one more birthday celebration, and one more visit from the tooth fairy before Tess was peacefully freed from her illness at home on March 30, 2022.
Without ongoing research for effective DIPG treatments, more families will be forced to endure the merciless experience of saying goodbye to shared dreams, to time together, to the people they were before an incurable cancer viciously stole everything from a beloved child whose life held so much promise.