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“It was the size of a grapefruit,” Lump on 18-month-old’s side diagnosed as cancerous tumor

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DURANT, Okla. - She's 18- months-old, just learning to walk and learning that cows have sloppy tongues.

Lauralyn Hull is standing near a fence along a pasture near Durant, Oklahoma where she lives with her parents, Ashlyn and Tylor Hull.

She loves to see the cows on the other side of the fence, and is a little surprised when one reaches through the fence to lick her.

Lauralyn's parents say they were thrilled to welcome their first child into the world over a year ago, but mom Ashlyn remembers she was born with an unusual quirk.

"Her side on the right stuck out a little more than the left," she explained.

Ashlyn brought it up to her pediatrician immediately, and was reassured there was nothing wrong and she was probably experiencing new parent jitters.

A few months went by, and when she had to change pediatricians for an unrelated reason, she brought up her concerns once again. This time the pediatrician immediately ran tests.

"It was a tumor, a cancer. It was the size of a grapefruit in her tiny body," Ashlyn remembered.

It turns out, the neuroblastoma doctors discovered may have indeed begun to form and grow while Lauralyn was still in her mother's womb.

The tumor on those first scans looks so big, it would be easy to mistake it for an image of a lung.

"It had her lung compressed, it had her heart pushed over, it had her spine compressed," explains Ashlyn.

As bad as things looked for this baby, the turn around at Jimmy Everest Center for Cancer was equally surprising. Chemotherapy quickly shrank the tumor, and then Lauralyn underwent surgery to remove the remainder of it.

Lauralyn blossomed as soon as chemotherapy began, revealing to her parents that her fussiness and sleepless nights were caused by the tumor, and were not just typical infant behavior.

"After two rounds of chemo, she went from not sitting up, not moving her legs or anything to sitting up on her own, playing, moving and acting like a kid again," explains Tylor.

"Her recent scans were really good, so we're excited and have hope she'll be a long term survivor," Lauralyn's pediatric oncologist Dr. Suraj Pratap said.

Dr. Pratap goes on to explain that neuroblastoma is one of the most challenging pediatric cancers with a high recurrence rate. Her treatment includes immunotherapy so her body learns to attack cancer cells on their own.

For now, he says "there are no current signs of any active disease, so that's fabulous."

While it's hard to see such a young child enduring so much medical treatment, her parents says she actually starts clapping when she goes into the clinic.

Her mom says the staff "all love her, they all take care of her, we wouldn't want to be anywhere else."

This small, grateful family is appreciating each day with their precious little girl and praying for bright skies ahead.

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