Calmer weather in store this week

Teenager diagnosed with Stage 4 Hodgkin’s Lymphoma after discovering bump on neck

OKLAHOMA - Raygen Hodge is fighting for her life, and doctors hope the struggle is behind her.

When you meet the 17-year-old straight-A student from Moore, the friendly vibe she gives off surrounds you.

Raygen is one of three girls in her family, and she was often complimented on her thick, long hair.

However, that all changed when she rubbed her neck last year.

“I noticed there was a bump in my neck,” Raygen said. “I told my mom, and we went to the doctor and it was just like, suddenly it's cancer... But, I didn't feel sick."

"When they say cancer and your child, then you automatically think the worst,” said mom Alicia.

Raygen was diagnosed with Stage 4 Hodgkin's Lymphoma.

"It's a cancer of a certain type of white blood cell called B cells,” said Jimmy Everest Oncologist Dr. Joel Thompson.

He said, since the cancer spread from her lymph nodes to her lungs, it’s considered stage four.

Because Raygen is high-risk, Jimmy Everest Center for Cancer included her in a clinical trial, using drugs that literally target and then envelope the cancer cells still left behind after chemotherapy.

"With this added onto the typical chemotherapy we give, we're hoping to do even better at curing high-risk Hodgkins,” Thompson said.

Raygen’s parents admit the journey isn’t easy, but the staff at Jimmy Everest have embraced them.

"They get to know you,” Raygen said.

"Her testimony is a greater gift than we ever could have had, because now she has an opportunity to tell people what she's been through and overcome," Alicia said.

Raygen has even taken her hair loss in characteristic stride.

"It's kind of fun to have a bald head. I just sit at home and rub my head," she said.

"She has a wonderful personality, and she always has a smile. She always has a positive outlook on things," Alicia said.

She has reason to smile because her future is bright.

Doctors said her prognosis is excellent, and they’ve already wrapped up her chemotherapy.

Her treatment will continue to tackle the tiny spot in her lung, which is steadily shrinking.

For more information, visit the Jimmy Everest Cancer Center.

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