Warsaw Boy Wages Valiant Fight For Life

Anita Campbell
County Reporter
As we begin a new year full of hope in the future, a young teenage boy here in Warsaw is fighting to live a full life.  Malachi Yoder, the thirteen year old son of Barbara and Daniel Yoder, was diagnosed in November with DIPG. (Dissfuse Intrisic Pontine Glioma).   Diffuse intrinsic pontine glioma (DIPG) is a brain tumor found in a part of the brain stem called the pons. The pons controls essential bodily functions such as heartbeat, breathing, swallowing, eye movement, eyesight, and balance.
On November 7, Malachi’s mother Barbara took her son to the doctor with what she thought might be Meningitis.  Malachi had been very tired and acting differently.  Then the next day, Malachi suffered from blurred vision, trouble swallowing and the left side of his face was droopy.  Barbara called the doctor and was instructed to take Malachi to the hospital.  She picked up her husband Daniel and together they took Malachi to Golden Valley Hospital in Clinton.  A CT scan revealed a brain tumor with fluid around it.  The Yoders tried to be positive but were concerned when the doctor wanted to send Malachi to Children’s Mercy Hospital in Kansas City for more testing.
On November 9 the Yoders were given the news that their son was suffering from DIPG and that the condition was incurable and inoperable.  At that time they were told that he only had two or three months to live.
They immediately called their large family who came rushing to comfort Malachi, Barbara and Daniel.  Malachi was started on steroids and then on November 19, he started radiation treatments to try to shrink the tumor and hopefully give him more time.
For six weeks, Malachi has to travel to Mercy Hospital in Springfield for 30 sessions of radiation treatments.  So far the tumor appears to be shrinking but it is not gone.  While Barbara and Daniel take turns driving Malachi to Springfield for treatments, church member Zeb Jordan volunteers to drive Malachi on Wednesdays to give his parents a break.
Presently, Malachi is continuing his education with Holly Helms, JBMS math teacher, who goes to his home two or three times a week depending on Malachi’s condition, to help him keep up with his classmates.
“Malachi’s radiation treatments are supposed to be complete by January 9 so we hope he can go back to school January 15,” said Barbara.  “We want Malachi to go back to school to be with his friends because we have faith that he will be healed.  Whether we have him for a few months or for years, we want him to live the life he wants with his friends and family.”
In the meantime, Malachi is being treated with acupuncture autoimmune therapy which includes high doses of Vitamin C.
“I didn’t know much about acupuncture; however, after acupuncture we could see that he was recovering from a runny nose very quickly,” said Barbara. 
Malachi is also being treated by Cindy Fox at Fox Wellness in Sedalia to work on autoimmune therapy.
DIPG affects children almost exclusively. Approximately 200-400 children in the United States are diagnosed with DIPG each year. These children are typically between the ages of 4 and 11. DIPG accounts for roughly 10-15% of all brain tumors in children.
DIPG is an aggressive tumor that interferes with all bodily functions, depriving a child of the ability to move, to communicate, and even to eat and drink.
As a DIPG tumor begins to grow, it puts pressure on the nerves that control the essential bodily functions regulated by the pons. Children with DIPG commonly experience double vision, reduced eye movement, facial weakness or asymmetry, and arm and leg weakness. They also have problems with walking, coordination, speech, chewing, and swallowing. As the tumor progresses, it also interferes with breathing and heartbeat, which ultimately results in the child’s death.
“No matter how much time Malachi  has, we want him to be a normal 13 year old boy,” said Barbara.  “If we didn’t let him do the things he wants to do it would as if we had no hope for recovery and we do.  We are living life in faith.”
Malachi’s father Daniel is the minister at the Church of the Living Water located on Wildcat Drive near Warsaw.  He is also presently on leave as a Warsaw R-9 District bus driver.  Barbara is a CNA who works night shifts at the Lincoln Community Nursing Home.  Her plans are to continue her education to become a nurse.
In addition to Malachi, the Yoder family includes Naomi, 10, a fifth grader at South Elementary and Chloe, 7, a second grader at South.  The Yoders also are parenting four foster children.
Daniel’s father Loren Yoder lives in Carthage and his mother Melva Parret lives in Lincoln.  Barbara’s mother Darlene Baumhoff is the nurse for the Climax Springs School District.  Daniel’s grandparents Dean and Velma Yoder have been a part of the Warsaw community for many years.
While Barbara admits that some days are harder than others, “I can’t let my mind go to the worse  case scenario,” Barbara said.   “I have six other children depending on me as well.  I have to trust in God.”
Malachi has been strong throughout his health ordeal.  The Bible verse that he is trusting is Philippians 4:13.  “I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me.”
Farmers Insurance, Derenda Miller, owner, donated funds which they raised at the Christmas on the Harbor Christmas tree contest to the Yoders to help with medical expenses for Malachi.
The Warsaw High School FFA chapter has also held fund raisers to help the Yoder family.
Anyone who would like to help the Yoder family is encouraged to give to the Benevolence Account of the Church of the Living Water.
The Make a Wish foundation flew the Yoders to North Carolina to watch a Panthers game and for Malachi to meet his favorite player Cam Newton.
The Climax Springs School District is planning a fund raiser on January 18 to help Malachi.
“We are living life in faith,” concluded Barbara.  Barbara and Daniel’s verse to help them through this trying time is Proverbs 5:6 “Trust in the LORD with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding; 6 in all your ways submit to him, and he will make your paths straight.”