Mother, daughter find hope at St. Jude

MEMPHIS, TN (WMC) - It started off as an art project by clipping tiny little dots and placing them one by one to create something much bigger.

"Their theme was going for gold. You didn't have to follow that, but I decided that I would try to tie it in somehow, " said Tori, a patient at St. Jude Children's Research Hospital.

The hole punch project led Tori and her mom Tonya to a valuable life lesson during the darkest moments in both of their lives.

"I would sit in the waiting lobby or in the med room, and I would just click hole punches for hours on hours," Tori said.

Tori is battling an aggressive form of cancer.

"I was diagnosed with AL leukemia which is acute lymphoblastic leukemia," she said.

You can hear the duo clicking away everywhere they go.

"It was kinda therapeutic that you could take your mind off the craziness of the unknowns," Tori's mother Tonya said.

The former high school cheerleader and track star was five days away from starting college on a full ride scholarship with the ROTC when she got the diagnosis.

Bogged down by the stress of sickness, St. Jude became their source of relief.

"They saved my daughter," said Tonya. "The doctor at home didn't give us a true diagnoses. The doctor in Florida didn't seem to care, but when we came here [they said] 'we're going to take care of you.' and they've done that."

The life lesson they learned is clearly seen in her art.

"Hope, hold on, pain ends." says Tori.

Her art piece was a part of the St. Jude's Teen Art Gallery at hospital.

The theme this year is "Going for Gold"  in honor of the upcoming Olympic Games and the St. Jude Marathon.

We have a first look at the gold medals for this year's marathon.

To find out on how you can participate and give back to St. Jude so no family ever has to pay for treatment, click here.

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