“We started to figure out it was something pretty serious,” Stroud girl battling childhood bone cancer

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OKLAHOMA CITY -  Dani loves horses and started riding at a young age.

"She's been riding horses since she was 2 years old," says Roy Killman, Dani's dad.

But a year ago, Dani had to put outdoor activities she loved, like horseback riding, on hold.

Her parents became concerned when their usually active daughter began to slow down.

"She was the fastest runner in her class, you know, and she just started complaining about her knee hurting," says Valerie Killman, Dani's mother.

Her parents thought Dani's pain could be related to a growth spurt, but the pain got worse and she began limping.

The family decided to take Dani to their pediatrician.

After several inconclusive tests, Dani was sent to the Jimmy Everest Center for Cancer to find answers.

"It was diagnosed as osteosarcoma," says Dr. Surj Pratap, Dani's doctor. "It is one of the commonest primary bone tumors."

Then came more devastating news for the family.

"One day, she had osteosarcoma, we were shocked, and then we found out the next day, it had spread to her lungs," says Valerie.

Doctors at Jimmy Everest first performed knee replacement surgery on Dani to remove the cancerous growth from her tibia.

Then more surgery to remove nodules from the little girl's lungs.

It was a painstaking operation that Dani's doctor says is one of the most complicated for physicians to perform.

"The only way to remove those nodes is to feel them with your own hands so surgeons pretty much have to open the lungs," says Dr. Pratap.

In the end, the surgeries proved successful.

"The most recent images from the lungs look very good," says Dr. Pratap.

Dani has now completed all necessary chemotherapy.

"Now that she's done with the chemo, he can help her get back on her feet so to speak, and help with that nerve damage," says Dani's mother, who is looking forward to Dani getting around again without the assistance of a walker.

She will still have to check in here at Jimmy Everest every two months for maintenance treatments, but her doctors are hopeful.

Dani is now looking forward to getting back to the things she loves, like riding horses.

The Killman family, from Stroud, says they are thankful there is a facility with cutting edge treatments for childhood cancer right here in Oklahoma.

A major goal of the Jimmy Everest Center is helping these courageous Oklahoma kids beat cancer without having to leave home.

For more information about the Jimmy Everest Center, go to JECfriends.org.

"Kids With Courage" is sponsored by the Jimmy Everest Center for Cancer.

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