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“I need to go to the doctor,” Quiet 5-year-old girl knew something was wrong before cancer diagnosis

BRIDGE CREEK, Okla. - Reese Park is working toward a day with no training wheels outside her Bridge Creek home.

The 5-year-old is biking with her siblings, which includes quite a crew since she's the second oldest of six children.

Reese's parents describe her as strong and quiet, so she seemed very out of character last July when she told her dad she needed medical help right away.

"She laid down on the floor and was crying and said, 'I need to go to the doctor," says Brad Park, Reese's father.

He loaded all six of his children in the car and headed to the emergency room, where his wife met him after work.

Deidre, Reese's mother, is an ultrasound technician, but when she was presented with images of a huge mass on Reese's kidney, she couldn't mentally grasp what she was seeing.

"They said it was a Wilm's tumor," she explained. "I was unsure what that meant at that point, even though I'd studied about it and read."

Brad Park, who is an Oklahoma City firefighter, wipes a tear and adds, "It was devastating at the time."

Now, Reese is at an appointment at Jimmy Everest Center for Cancer, getting another round of chemotherapy. This quiet girl is being more talkative than usual, and Dr. Chibuzo Ilonze is letting her listen to her heart through a stethoscope.

"What do you hear?" he asks.  When he examines her abdomen, she breaks out in a gale of giggles.

Dr. Ilonze says Reese's kidney cancer came with a complication. The tumor had ruptured before they could surgically remove it.

"When a tumor ruptures, we're concerned tumor cells have spilled into the abdomen, and because of that, chemo will not get everything," he said. That meant Reese had surgery to remove a kidney, followed by both chemotherapy and radiation.

Reese's parents say it's been hard, but the love and excellent care they've received at Jimmy Everest Center for Cancer puts them at ease.

"She just goes on about her business and like it's no big deal, fussing and fighting with her sister, and playing and loving on them,"​ Didre Reese said.

Her parents say they are really excited she will be able to lead a normal life, even though she'll have just one kidney. Her final treatments are scheduled for next February.

If you'd like to help kids like Reese fight cancer, consider donating to JECKids.org.

Kids with Courage is sponsored by the Jimmy Everest Center.