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Community Collects Tabs for Baby with Brain Tumor

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Meridian, Okla._ People from Duncan, Meridian, Comanche and other surrounding communities are coming together to help a child with a large brain tumor.

Three months ago, doctors discovered a tumor  in 22-month-old Natalie Berzas' brain.

Now, the community is collecting aluminum soda can tabs, which can be turned in to the Ronald McDonald house to help fund her medical treatments.

What started as word of mouth at the family's restaurant in Meridian soon spiraled into a social media frenzy that had people wanting to donate from all over Comanche and Stephens County.

The child's family is overwhelmed by the outpouring of community support

When news of a 22-month old baby girl suffering from a brain tumor got out, people took action in a positive way. Members from the Freedom Biker Church in Duncan had people collecting the aluminum tabs all over town Tuesday.

"It's a baby that needs help and if we can pull a tab that we normally just throw in the trash, why not throw it in a bucket and bring it by and help the family, and maybe cure her problem?"

Up until just three months ago, the family says the baby was perfectly healthy, except she has never walked a day in her life. But the family consulted a doctor about that issue and was told to not be worried.

But one day around the Fourth of July holiday this summer, baby Natalie lost everything. It was a blockage to her brain that doctors soon realized needed serious medical attention. They discovered a large brain tumor in her brain.

"They gave us a choice to start the Chemo treatments or not," said Bethany Berzas, Natalie's mother.

The family ultimately decided to go ahead with two weekly treatments. Although the baby is currently on Soonercare, they worry that treatments down the road  will not be covered.

Now, for each gallon of tabs they collect they get two treatments paid for by the Ronald McDonald house.

The family has already turned in 11 gallons of tabs, but the fundraising is only getting started.

"They do a lot for somebody that they don't even know," said Berzas. "They have heart to do something for somebody they don't know."

Emotions are running higher than ever because the family knows the tumor cannot be removed, and the treatments can only slow down the growth.

"One day we might not have her and that really hurts," said Natalie's grandmother, Lisa Berzas.

But with each tab they collect, they are one small step closer to keeping Natalie alive. 

"She is what makes me hold myself together. It's hard," said Berzas.

The family has already noticed a change in Natalie's behavior with just two weeks of treatment.

Doctors say that she will most likely need treatments or radiation for the rest of her life.  

You at home can certainly help Natalie as well. If you would like to donate your aluminum tabs, you can drop them off at the Freedom Biker Church in or call the family at (580) 439-6845 to schedule a pick-up.

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