Select Language

Rebeka Radic

Rebeka and her family first noticed something wrong three years ago. Rebeka experienced severe headaches that soon became a part of her daily life. Her family took her to a hospital in their home country of Croatia in a search of answers. After many different tests, the last to be performed was an MRI that revealed Rebeka had a rare tumor of the skull base called a clival chordoma. It would require surgery.

Following this diagnosis, Rebeka’s doctors operated to remove the tumor, but were only able to eliminate 90% of the mass, causing it to reappear months later. Despite being a leading hospital in Croatia, the facility did not have the equipment necessary to adequately treat Rebeka’s tumor. Her parents began researching hospitals in the United States to find one that could remove her tumor completely.

After extensive searching, Rebeka’s parents found a doctor that recommended UPMC, putting them in contact with Dr. Carl Snyderman.

The Radic family was contacted by the team from UPMC Global Care, helping to make all the arrangements for Rebeka and her family’s trip to Pittsburgh, PA, US. It was only a month later they were on a flight headed to the United States for treatment

After arriving in Pittsburgh, Rebeka and her family were met by Anna Colombi, her patient coordinator from UPMC Global Care, who served as her concierge, available 24 hours a day during their stay. “Everything was very coordinated and we didn’t need to think about where to go, ever. She showed us around the hospital and even supplied us with an Italian coffee machine to make us feel more at home,” recount Rebeka and her mother. Anna arranged transportation, coordinated housing, helped complete paperwork and oversaw a plethora of other considerations for the Radic family.

One of the best things about Rebeka being at UPMC, according to her mother, was that “she was a person here, not a patient.” Everyone would stop Rebeka for a hug and a quick hello, from the people surrounding her during her testing stage, to her nurse during her doctor visits.

As her mother says, despite Rebeka’s visit to Pittsburgh for less than ideal reasons, “something good happened.” And something did—Rebeka and her family were contacted by other members of the Croatian community in Pittsburgh giving them a feeling of home. During their time they were shown different sights around Pittsburgh and the surrounding community. After a successful treatment and a positive end to their visit, the Radic family returned to Croatia, where Rebeka was greeted with warm hugs, smiling faces and generous gifts.