MEMPHIS, Tenn. (WMC) - As we fight to keep our families healthy, doctors and researchers at St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital are fighting an even bigger battle.
All of their patients have compromised immune systems, and now they need our help more than ever.
To look at the beautiful, bright smile on 16-year-old Paishence’s face now, you would never know that she was in serious pain eight years ago. While she says she doesn’t fully remember it, her mom will never forget.
“I really found out when we were teaching her how to ride her bike,” said Nannette, Paishence’s mother. “She favored the left side more … the straw that broke the camel’s back was when she could barely peddle on the right side of that bike.”
Nannette says when she was younger, Paishence stumbled a lot and often complained about her leg. She says she knew there was a problem, but the doctors kept telling her it was growing pains.
“I bought that for a good three years," said Nannette.
But after that time passed, Nannette had reached her boiling point. She insisted on an xray, and sure enough, a mass was found on her daughter’s leg. She is grateful she was persistent.
“The kind of cancer that Paishence was diagnosed with, there are like no stages to it. It just starts off extremely aggressive,” said Nannette,
But that bone cancer didn’t overtake Paishence. She beat osteosarcoma and she loves sharing her story of survival.
“During treatment, I had one major surgery, and that’s when they replaced my femur bone and I have a titanium rod in my leg now. And they replaced my hip so I have a metal ball,” said Paishence.
That surgery landed her 93% cancer free! Next up is another painful challenge -- intense chemotherapy.
“I was on methotrexate, doxorubicin, and ciscoplatin, I do remember going through chemo treatments, it was probably the toughest experience of going through cancer," said Paishence.
An experience Paishence says she couldn’t have made it through without the help of a few good people.
My nurses were beautiful. Just having them help me and help me smile and everything really softened everything that I was going through at the time. “
Nannette calls those nurses and all the skilled hands that worked to make her baby girl better, angels.
“I’ve never experienced this magnitude of love until I came here. You know that the people working behind the scenes are just ... full of this unconditional love,“ said Nannette.
Five surgeries later and a lot of physical therapy, Paishence is learning to walk again after eight years of being on crutches!
You could say she’s titanium strong, taking one step at time, with mom right by her side, smiling all the way.
We all can support the St. Jude mission of finding cures and saving lives by reserving a ticket for the St. Jude Dream Home Giveaway.
Tickets go on sale March 27.
You could win a dream home -- but more importantly, you could save a life.