Photo from the Hope for Aaliyah Facebook page
MIDDLEBURG, Fla. -- A nine-year-old girl diagnosed with cancer is told she has a 35 percent chance of survival.
And as she fights to say alive, her mother is working to spread awareness about childhood cancer.
It took her family by surprise and she says this frightening reality could happen to any one of us.
Aaliyah Mitchell was diagnosed with Ewing's Sarcoma in August.
Since then her life has been filled with hospital visits, medication, pain and hope.
On a good day for little Aaliyah, she's able to play one of her favorite games with her biggest supporter. Things feel normal.
"One day you have a child that's healthy and it just kind of comes out of nowhere," said Aaliyah's mom Heather Williams.
During the day, the fun times pause for important things, like taking medication. Little reminders that now life is different for Aaliyah.
She can't always go to school, she takes 17 pills daily and in two weeks, like clockwork, she'll be admitted into the hospital for chemotherapy.
"I have to most of the time stay in my room," Aaliyah said.
Heather Williams said the diagnosis of Ewing Sarcoma came as a complete surprise.
In early August, Aaliyah complained of pain in her leg. It turns out she had a softball sized tumor on her left pelvic bone, and 7 smaller tumors in her lungs.
"My heart dropped. I knew something was wrong. But I never thought cancer," Williams said.
Reality quickly hit. But instead of accepting what doctors have told her, which is Aaliyah has anywhere from 1 to 5 years to live, Williams is fighting back.
She believes her daughter has a full life ahead of her. And she's on a mission to help beat childhood cancer.
"A lot of people don't want to face childhood cancer. It's scary. But if we don't get the word out that it exists, nothing will be done to increase awareness and funding," Williams said.
For more information, visit the Facebook page that has been created for Aaliyah. There you'll be able to find out about upcoming fundraisers and you can keep up with her progress.
She's set to undergo some more tests at the end of this month to see how her body is responding to the chemotherapy.
First Coast News