National Payton Slaymaker Day takes place every March 11 and is named in honor of Claypool, Indiana native Payton Slaymaker, who succumbed to a rare form of brain cancer at the age of 10 in 2021. She was diagnosed with diffuse intrinsic pontine glioma (D.I.P.G.) in 2019, an aggressive form of cancer that resulted in the growth of an inoperable tumor. Her condition and fight against the illness have drawn support across the United States, with many being inspired by her bravery against impossible odds. Her story has helped increase awareness of D.I.P.G.
History of National Payton Slaymaker Day
Payton Allie Slaymaker was born on October 17, 2010, in Elkhart, Indiana to Kimberly Allison Slaymaker and Andrew Lee Slaymaker. She was named after famous N.F.L. quarterback Peyton Manning. Her name became known nationwide after word got out that she was diagnosed in 2019 with an inoperable brain tumor that condemned her to an unfortunately short life. She battled the infamously fatal diffuse intrinsic pontine glioma (D.I.P.G.), an aggressive form of childhood cancer that originates in the brainstem and affects vital human functions such as breathing, heart rate, and blood pressure.
At the time of her diagnosis, she was in the fourth grade. Her parents first detailed her condition through Facebook and kept doing so until her death. Through these posts, support and awareness steadily increased, initially on a community level and then reaching millions of hearts nationwide. Since then, multiple fundraisers, tributes, and events were held in her honor across all 50 states of America. She sadly lost her battle with the illness two years later, passing peacefully in the company of her family. Tributes poured in from across the country in the form of funds, messages of support, and even artistic tributes. It was after her death that National Payton Slaymaker Day was created.
What makes her story remarkable is that after her diagnosis, she chose to continue living a normal life and did not let her disease prevent her from doing the things she loved. She is remembered by her loved ones as a “beautiful little girl with a big smile” who loved joking, singing, and dancing. The solidarity around her shows how much her story was able to resonate deeply in the hearts of fellow human beings.
National Payton Slaymaker Day timeline
Payton Allie Slaymaker is born.
Doctors first diagnose Payton with D.I.P.G.
The first major fundraiser for Payton was held in Warsaw, Indiana.
Payton Slaymaker passes away from her illness at the age of 10.
A mural is painted in her honor in Winona Lake, Indiana by Christi Ziebarth.
National Payton Slaymaker Day FAQs
Is it possible to survive D.I.P.G?
The chances of surviving D.I.P.G. are thought to be very low. The average survival rate of a D.I.P.G. patient is around one year, with a startling mortality rate of less than 2% surviving five years after diagnosis.
How quickly does D.I.P.G. progress?
The general time to tumor progression is around seven months after diagnosis. Even after treatment, a D.I.P.G. tumor can return in the span of six to 12 months. After the second growth, no further treatment is possible.
Why is D.I.P.G. so hard to treat?
Despite increasing knowledge of tumor biology, progress has been slow in developing an effective treatment for D.I.P.G. One of the reasons is that the tumor’s location within the crucial pons area of the brain makes it difficult to study due to its invaluable role in controlling the body’s central nervous system. The pons area of the brain is protected by a type of blood barrier that makes it impossible for any drugs to reach the tumor.
How to Observe National Payton Slaymaker Day
Donate to cancer charities
One way to show your support for Slaymaker’s cause is to donate to cancer charities. Your funds and donations are valuable in keeping these charities running so that they can continue to operate in the name of their causes.
Conduct regular medical checkups to improve your health
It helps to visit the doctor for regular medical checkups to identify possible disease risks you or your loved ones may have. By identifying symptoms and illnesses early, the chance of treating them can be more successful.
Spread information on D.I.P.G.
Spread the word on the effects of D.I.P.G. on your social media pages. D.I.P.G. is seen as a disease for which research and treatment are still underfunded. The more information that is distributed about the impacts and symptoms of the disease, the more people will become aware.
5 Interesting Facts About D.I.P.G.
The first symptoms of D.I.P.G.
Initial symptoms of D.I.P.G. include odd eye movements, constant lethargy, slurred speech, difficulty in maintaining balance, and difficulty swallowing.
A deadly statistic that defines its severity
D.I.P.G. accounts for around 10% of all childhood central nervous system tumors.
It frequently occurs in American children
Up to 150 to 300 children are diagnosed with D.I.P.G. annually in the United States.
It has an abysmal mortality rate
Fewer than 10% of children suffering from D.I.P.G. survive two years after diagnosis.
Other famous D.I.P.G. patients
Notable names that have also suffered from D.I.P.G. included Karen Armstrong (the daughter of astronaut Neil Armstrong) and college basketball player Lauren Hill.
Why National Payton Slaymaker Day is Important
It highlights the power of community and human sympathy
National Payton Slaymaker Day is a testament to the power of human goodwill and community support. It shows how much her story has managed to resonate in millions of strangers' hearts and how it compelled them to want to help in any way they could. In other words, it shows the best of human nature in action.
Slaymaker’s story serves as an inspiration
Slaymaker’s story serves as an inspiration for cancer sufferers everywhere, particularly regarding her perceived resilience and bravery in tackling it. Until the very end, she never gave in to her fate and instead tried to live a normal life, still going to school, attending dance classes, and even joining the girl scouts. The fact that so much good has sprouted from her plight shows that she was able to bring change to the world.
It raises awareness about D.I.P.G.
The day also calls attention to D.I.P.G. as a disease. Generally very difficult to cure, and relatively underfunded, D.I.P.G. is a form of cancer that usually occurs during one's childhood years. Through her story, public awareness of D.I.P.G. increased, helping impact future research and funding for treating the disease.
National Payton Slaymaker Day dates