Calmer weather in store this week

Kids with Courage: 4-year-old Pryor girl courageously fights rare cancer

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PRYOR, Okla. - Faith blossoms for little Ashlyn and her nine brother and sisters.

Their father, Eric, is a Pastor at Pryor Creek Baptist Church.

Eric is used to helping members of his flock during hard times, but the family found themselves in need of prayer.

After a church service last fall, Ashlyn's parents noticed she was in pain.

"Her daddy went to give her a hug, and she said, 'Oh, that hurts!' So, when we pulled up her shirt, we noticed a big lump on her stomach," said Ashlyn's mother, Goldie.

Frantic, Ashlyn's parents rushed her to the hospital.

"At first, they thought maybe she had a bowel that had flipped, or she had something else going on," Eric said.

Testing confirmed something else.

"They did a cat scan, and they quickly knew that she had massive tumor," Eric said.

The tumor in Ashlyn's belly was the size of a grapefruit and had to removed.

The family was sent to the Jimmy Everest Center for Cancer where Ashlyn was quickly diagnosed with Wilm's Tumor, a rare type of childhood cancer that usually affects only the kidneys - in Ashlyn's case, had spread throughout her body.

Dr. William Meyer is an expert in treating Wilm's Tumor patients.

"Usually, the tumor is confined just to the kidney, but there are some situations where the tumor cells spread outside the kidney - in her case, to the liver and the lungs."

Ashlyn first had to undergo intense chemotherapy to shrink her primary tumor then surgery to remove it, followed by radiation.

The courageous little girl's treatments are ongoing, but her doctors are optimistic.

"The fortunate thing is we still had a pretty good cure rates as long as the treatment is quite aggressive," Meyer said.

Ashlyn's parents are amazed at how far she has come in just a few months.

They said their daughter is doing well but still must check in at Jimmy Everest every three weeks for continuing treatment.

"We try not to live in the 'What if...' We live for the right now and just thank the Lord each day for another day."

Relying on faith to take them the rest of the way.

Ashlyn has a team of specialists caring for her using the latest treatments available to fight childhood cancer.

The family has access to the best care possible right here in Oklahoma.

That's a major goal of the Jimmy Everest Center - helping these courageous kids beat cancer without having to leave home.

To learn more about the Jimmy Everest Center for Cancer or to donate to the effort to cure cancer in Oklahoma Children, click here.