TEANECK, N.J. — The Teaneck Police Benevolence Association raised more than $4,000 at a recent costume party fundraiser for Paulie Reisinger, 7 of Dumont, who has been battling cancer for almost his entire life.
"It's important for our union to give back in general," event coordinator and detective Ed Kazmierczak told Daily Voice.
"But Paulie was a natural choice because one of our officers' wives was his nurse for a while and another officer is his neighbor."
Paul "Paulie" Reisinger Jr. had a healthy, happy and typical first year of life.
Once he turned 1, he began walking but that all changed rather quickly when he began to show balance issues. Paulie soon stopped walking all together and after an emergency room visit and a CAT scan, it was discovered that he had a plum size brain tumor.
He also had a fluid build up in the brain that needed immediate surgery, and it was performed within hours of diagnosis in March 2011.
The tumor was diagnosed as an ependymoma, a cancerous tumor. Paulie spent the next almost 9 months inpatient between two hospitals, where he endured a combined three surgeries, with the last one being a successful full removal of the tumor, 3 rounds of chemo, 30 rounds of proton radiation, and many procedures and surgeries to sustain life.
Paulie finally came home on December 15th and he needed to relearn everything that he lost, while his family learned to live with a special needs child that was fully dependent on others for his every need.
He began early intervention and received many therapies at home. Once he turned 3, he continued to relearn what he could but was left with disabilities, such as the loss of hearing, inability to speak and being confined to a wheelchair.
He was able to start an amazing special needs school where he continued with his therapies but was able to socialize with other special needs kids.
Paulie was cancer free for more than 3 years when it was discovered that he had reoccurred. He had another surgery to remove the tumor followed by more radiation.
Paulie and his family traveled back and forth to Philadelphia for six weeks to have the treatment completed and continue his follow up care, with at least one monthly appointment. Unfortunately, the tumor continued to grow so he is currently on an experimental treatment. It has prevented the tumor from further growth with minimal side effects.
As much as Paulie has had a difficult life, his family makes sure he does live life to the fullest. His parents keep life as normal as possible for Paulie and his 8 year old sister. He plays baseball, soccer and basketball on special needs team. He also loves attending horse therapy and watching all types of sports. Tomorrow isn't promised so, they make today count.