Over the next year I will be traveling the country being an ambassador for the sport of professional rodeo, the western way of life, the state of Illinois, and to promote childhood cancer awareness. Children that have battled cancer and that are battling are an inspiration and an example of strength and hope
Deborah Lee was diagnosed with stage 4 brain cancer she was 4 months old. After MRI discovered a number of tumors in her brain, Deborah Lee underwent two brain surgeries to remove the tumors. Even after two surgeries one tumor could not be removed. It was wrapped around the blood supply to her brain. Since removing the tumor was not an option the doctors looked into a trial chemotherapy treatment. A treatment that would give her a 7 percent chance to live but little hope for a normal life if he survived. After finding what was thought to be cancerous cells in her spinal fluid, Deborah Lee’s chances of survival diminished even further. Her family decided to take Deborah Lee home so she could live out her life with her family.
After 5 months Deborah Lee’s family decided to take her in for an MRI despite push back from doctors. They discovered her cancer was not acting like it normally would. Her cancer had not spread into her spinal fluid. Deborah Lee underwent her third brain surgery and the doctors discovered that the tumor had pulled away from the main blood supply and could be removed. In June 2008 she began her 18-month chemotherapy regime. In November 2009, Deborah Lee finished her chemo treatments.
Today Deborah Lee is cancer free. She is a strong, brave and determined little girl. The chemo that saved her also harmed her body. Despite these challenges she looks at life as half full knowing “God’s got her back.” Over the next year I will be given the chance to tell her story and stories of other kids battling cancer in the hopes to bring awareness to their fight. My chaps have two special ribbons on the top. One for Deborah Lee and the other for Kaitlin Brianna who lost her fight with cancer. These ribbons represent all children who are fighting and have fought cancer. I will wear them proudly and tell their stories.
With awareness there is hope. Spread the word