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11 & 12-Year-Old Cancer Survivors Share Amazing Stories to Inspire Others

11 & 12-Year-Old Cancer Survivors Share Amazing Stories to Inspire Others

In honour of Childhood Cancer Awareness Month observed every September, cancer survivors, Ashley Burnette, 12, and Kenny Thomas, 11, now BFFs following their battle with cancer, have shared their stories to inspire cancer-stricken children and their families.

8-year-old Kenny Thomas’ battle with cancer started with a persistent cough 3 years ago, just before he began third grade.

His mum, Lori, added: “Kenny also had night sweats and was losing weight. I took him to the doctor, who brushed it off as a bad cold.”

His cough persisted, so a few weeks later, Lori brought Kenny back to the doctor, who blamed it on postnasal drip. But her mother’s instinct told her that something else was going on. After Kenny threw up the next day before a soccer game, she took him to the ER, and an x-ray revealed an enormous tumor in his chest, crowding out his heart.

Kenny was diagnosed with stage III Non-Hodgkin lymphoma, a cancer of the lymph system.

His mum continued: “They had to pick me up off the floor, I was so shocked.”

After months of chemo that caused him to miss the school year and lose his hair, Kenny’s cancer went into remission. For another year and a half, he took chemo drugs and antibiotics to keep it from returning, and in May 2014, doctors pronounced him cancer-free.

“I can do anything other kids can do (now). Me and my friends ride bikes and play basketball and football. We swim, and we play video games,” Kenny said.

His only interaction with doctors now is the regular checkup he undergoes to make sure the cancer hasn’t come back.

His BFF, Ashley, was diagnosed with stage IV Neuroblastoma, a type of cancer that often affects young people.

His mum said: “Ashley’s dad and I saw that she was walking with a limp, and she had a black eye that wouldn’t go away. Our doctor discovered a tumor on her adrenal gland, a tumor on her spine, and the neuroblastoma in her bone marrow.”

Like Kenny, Ashley had to stop schooling and focus on treatment, which included surgery, chemo, radiation, and a stem-cell transplant, but never gave up.

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Ashley said, “Even when my hair started falling out, I got to wear cool hats,”

A year later, doctors discovered a second cancer, Non-Hodgkin lymphoma. Ashley kept fighting and doctors pronounced her free of cancer in 2012.

Ashley said: “I tell kids to keep fighting, they’ll get better, and have a positive attitude. If they believe they can get through it, they can.”

Kenny, and Ashley have now become child youth ambassadors for Hyundai Hope on Wheels, a foundation focused on paediatric cancer awareness and funding, to inspire cancer-stricken children and their families that they can survive too.

Zafar Brooks, the foundation’s program executive director, said: “When most people think of cancer, they think of adults battling the disease and the lifestyle factors that can lead to different types of cancer, such as smoking and lung cancer or being in the sun and melanoma. But kids who have cancer have none of these risk factors. And though fewer children are dying than in previous years, with some cancers having a 90 percent cure rate, one in five kids won’t survive. Our goal is to stop this illness. No child should die of cancer.”

Source: YahooParenting

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