4-year-old prodigy battles cancer, graduates from kindergarten early

By Nick Kenney - bio | email

MEMPHIS, TN (WMC-TV) - A brilliant young girl managed to graduate from kindergarten early while undergoing treatment for cancer.

In July of 2008, Avery Yarbro became the youngest member of MENSA, the international high IQ society, at age three.

Yarbro is now four and about to graduate from kindergarten early.  Yarbro's parents, Erick and Alyssia,  said during the last six months of the school year they found out she had a tumor.

"Around Christmas break, we found out she had WILMA, a tumor," Alyssia Yarbro said.  "You know how big it was?" she asked Avery Yarbro.

"Football-sized," Avery Yarbro said.

Her father said the news was devastating.

"It's like the worst news you could ever get," Erik Yarbro said.  "It's the worst day of your life, the night we found out.  You just anticipate the worst and hope and pray for the best."

The next morning, Avery Yarbro checked into St. Jude.  Within three days, doctors removed the two and a half pound tumor and her kidney.

She went through six months of chemotherapy and somehow also made it through kindergarten.

"Everybody banded together behind Avery," Erik Yarbro said.

Alyssia Yarbro said she was unable to attend much school.

"One month she went eight days," she said, "and I was like, man, she went to a lot of school this month.  She did really good."

Avery Yarbro's parents said she is cancer free right now.

"St. Jude's an amazing place," Erik Yarbro said.  "So much credit to the doctors and staff there."

The Yarbros are working on starting a charity organization that would provide personalized superhero capes for child cancer patients to wear whenever they go in for chemotherapy.

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