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Oklahoma father’s love saves infant daughter battling cancer

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OKLAHOMA CITY - Taytum Davis is less than 2 years old but is already very chatty.

"She's pretty ornery and sassy," Taytum's mother, Taylor Davis, tells NewsChannel 4.

Doctors said the little girl from McLoud is meeting her developmental milestones, but that wasn't always the case.

Those milestones came to a screeching halt when Taytum was just 9 months old.

“Her stomach got really hard, and it was really big. Our pediatrician said she had a large mass on her liver and we needed to go straight to the hospital," Taylor said.

Doctors found a rare tumor called atypical teratoid rhabdoid growing on Taytum's liver.

Experts said the tumor is typically found in the brain.

In fact, experts said the type of tumor only makes up about three percent of newly diagnosed brain tumors and finding it on a liver is even rarer.

Ten years ago, the tumors were fatal, but new therapies have increased the survival rate by more than 50 percent.

"This was a huge liver tumor," said Dr. Rene McNall-Kanpp, a pediatrict oncologist.

She said surgically removing the tumor wasn't possible, meaning little Taytum would have to go through chemotherapy.

Eventually, she would need a liver transplant.

"The parents were like 'What can we do? Can we give our liver?' 'No, you can't give your liver, but you can give part of your liver,'" she said.

Tyler Davis, Taytum's father, didn't hesitate.

He was able to be with Taytum as they were sedated together.

“They took 25 percent of my liver and gave it to her. They removed all of hers,” Tyler said, adding it was “pretty neat to do that.”

Since the transplant, the couple said Taytum is like a new child.

“She’s real talkative and happy and laughing,"  Taylor said.

Taytum is officially cancer-free.

A thin white scar on her belly marks where her liver was removed.

“She's one tough cookie, that's for sure. She's amazing," McNall-Knapp said. “It's just a really, really good sign that her liver is working great.”

Doctors at the Jimmy Everest Cancer Center will closely monitor Taytum as she grows.

She takes anti-rejection drugs weekly.

Taytum’s parents have a photograph of her with a homemade sign that read “Cancer picked on the wrong princess.”

Taytum has a medical team on her side, and her dad’s love “inside” her for the rest of her life.

"It's just amazing. I always thought I picked a good dad for her. She couldn't have picked a better one," Taylor said.

For more information or if you would like to donate to cure cancer in Oklahoma kids, visit JECfriends.org.

'Kids With Courage' is sponsored by the Jimmy Everest Center.