NEW CANAAN — It’s been a busy month for the Kwei-Choi family, and their community has lend a helping hand.

Issy Kwei-Choi, a 12-year-old and oldest daughter of Jeena and Frank Kwei-Choi, underwent surgery on July 4 at the Yale New Haven Hospital to have a cerebellar tumor by her brain stem removed. After an eight-hour surgery, Issy was declared “tumor-free” but the process for rehabilitation has just started.

Issy was discharged from the Yale New Haven Hospital last Friday and is now at the Hospital for Special Care in New Britain, her father said.

“She’s going under physical therapy for possibly the next two weeks or so,” Frank said. “She’s making progress every day, little by little. She’s still not able to eat or swallow but, in terms of mobility, there have been notable improvements.”

Medical expenses for this type of treatment are expected to be between $250,000 and $500,000, and community members in Wilton and New Canaan have stepped in to help.

More Information

If interested in donating, visit: https://www.gofundme.com/issy039s-health-care-fund

A GoFundMe page created July 6 by family friends has, as of press time, raised $41,295 with 301 people pitching in. The amount supersedes the original goal of raising $35,000.

A comment left by user Wilton Pony Club said “Issy — your Wilton Pony Club friends and Zippy miss you. Stay strong!”

The Kwei-Choi parents were humbled by the amount of people that had reached out.

“We’ve been so blown away with gratitude from the community, not just our friends from work or church, but also the town of Wilton, neighbors, friends of friends, strangers and even teachers and classmates,” Frank said. “All have poured out their support in all forms.”

Jeena is a real estate agent in Wilton and Frank is the director of hospitality at the Grace Farms Foundation. Following Issy’s move to New Britain, the family alternates times to stay with their daughter at the hospital.

Adam Thatcher, director of operations at Grace Farms Foundations, has known Frank for the past four years.

“I can easily say that (the family) are more than appreciative and blown away by the community outreach and support that their family has received from friends and also strangers and people from school, New Canaan and Ridgefield,” Thatcher said.

An update on the fundraiser’s page July 16 stated the family had been appreciative of the community support.

“Any unused funds will go to the Ronald McDonald House of CT given by ‘Issy’s friends,’ where our family received clean, comfortable room to recharge and kitchen/dining facilities/playset where we were able to enjoy some time with our other eight-year-old daughter, Lucia,” the update read. “What an amazing place of respite and comfort, just across the street from Yale!”

Friends of the family have also expressed their support and gratitude for the help received online.

“We’re blessed for the outpouring of support from the Wilton and New Canaan communities,” Veena Verma-Dzik, a close friend of the family, said.

humberto.juarez@hearst

mediact.com