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Mother’s persistence about daughter’s back pain led to cancer diagnosis

OKLAHOMA CITY - There is a good reason 8-year old Kambri Albright from Bartlesville is familiar with all the tourist hot spots in Oklahoma City.

You could say she’s an accidental tourist here, with her most recent visit lasting 100 days.

"She just started a new school and her teacher was calling, telling me Kambri's back hurt” says Kambri’s mom, Patty Hammond.

Hammond says those first visits to the doctor were inconclusive, but Kambri’s pain and exhaustion continued.

“I left work and I demanded blood work. I said, 'I’m not leaving until we get blood work this afternoon,” she said.

The results came back positive for leukemia. In Kambri’s case, it came with genetic complications.

“She had two chromosomal abnormalities that were in her leukemia cells,” said Dr. David Crawford, Kambri's pediatric oncologist at Jimmy Everest Center for Cancer. “She had what's called monosomy 7."

"So I had to take a step back and take a breath and say, 'We're going to make it through," Hammond said.

Due to the high risk of relapse, doctors at Jimmy Everest were proactive with a stem cell transplant before Kambri even had a chance to relapse.

Before she could receive that transplant, doctors had to wipe out Kambri’s immune system where cancer cells could hide. She underwent days of intensive radiation and chemotherapy, which took all the energy she had in reserve.

The little girl who played with everyone in the clinic waiting room suddenly descended into a deep, dark valley.

For the next 100 days, Kambri was required to stay close to the clinic in Oklahoma City. As those surveillance days ticked by, doctors and staff cheered for her on the slow march back up the mountain of hope.

“They’re very detailed, they’re very caring. They make sure we know what’s next,” Hammond said.

“Kambri is really a very interesting and fun patient. She will dance for us, and sing for us and smile and play. She’s just an extraordinary girl!” Dr. Crawford said.

Now, Kambri is reaching the end of her 100 days surveillance period and it’s not just the test results that look good.

“Your skin is looking superb, Kambri, much better and I love the glitter you’ve added,” a nurse remarks.

It will be a year in September since Kambri’s diagnosis. She and her mother have become very close, but they’re thrilled to rejoin the rest of the family waiting for them in eastern Oklahoma.

If you’d like to help kids like Kambri fight cancer, consider donating.

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