DINGMAN GROVER
Damian Dovarganes  /  AP file
David Dingman-Grover, 9, was diagnosed in 2003 with a grapefruit-sized malignant tumor. After nicknaming the brain tumor Frank after Frankenstein's monster, his mother auctioned off 'Frank Must Die' bumper stickers on Ebay to pay for his medical bills.
updated 2/15/2005 4:14:17 PM ET 2005-02-15T21:14:17

A 9-year-old boy who nicknamed his brain tumor “Frank” and whose mother launched an online auction to help pay for his medical bills is now cancer-free, his mother said Tuesday.

“Frank is dead!” an elated Tiffini Dingman-Grover said by telephone from her Sterling home as the family prepared to head to a press conference in Washington, D.C.

David Dingman-Grover had most of his tumor removed Feb. 2 at the Skull Base Institute at Cedars-Sinai Medical Center in Los Angeles. The family learned the results of a biopsy on the tumor at midnight Monday. The family was crowded around the phone on “pins and needles” waiting for the call from David’s surgeon, his mother said.

“(David) is so mellow — he’s so easygoing. He was just like, 'Really? Great! Cool!'" Dingman-Grover said of her son’s reaction to the good news. “It’s like, 'Honey, is that all?' He says, 'Did you ever think it wouldn’t be gone?”’

Auctioned bumper stickers
David was diagnosed in May 2003 with a grapefruit-sized malignant brain tumor called a rhabdomyosarcoma, which was causing blindness and headaches.

He nicknamed it “Frank” after Frankenstein, who scared him until he dressed up as the monster for Halloween.

The size and location of the tumor initially made it impossible for doctors to remove, his mother said. Chemotherapy shrank it to the size of an apricot, but David needed a specialized biopsy to determine whether the tumor was still cancerous.

To help pay for the pricey procedure, David’s mother auctioned off a bumper sticker on eBay that read “Frank Must Die.” Donations poured in from across the world and, after hearing about the family’s financial struggle, the surgeon offered to perform the biopsy for free.

Dr. Hrayr Shahinian, who performed the surgery, had said it went very well, but the family was waiting to see if another round of chemotherapy was needed. The family used the thousands of dollars in private donations to help pay for other medical fees.

David’s mother said she took away something positive from the ordeal.

“I used to be very pessimistic about people in general,” Dingman-Grover said. “It wasn’t until this that I realized there are people out there that really do care that I don’t even know.”

The boy could be heard giggling Tuesday morning as his mother tickled him.

“It’s been such a tremendous experience,” Tiffini Dingman-Grover said. “And believe it or not, I’m glad I experienced it, because I have been given a wonderful gift — and that’s to realize how precious being a mother is.”

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