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9-year-old Elk City girl dances despite her leukemia diagnosis

ELK CITY, Okla. - 9-year-old Jalyn Meadows stretches up her arms, and taps to the beat in her Elk City dance class.

This graceful dancer found herself struggling just to walk last October, and her family became increasingly alarmed.

"I saw her on the couch just sort of slumped over and breathless," recalls Jalyn's mother, Linda "She said, 'Mom come feel my heart' and her heart was racing."

It didn't take long for doctors to direct Jalyn's family to Jimmy Everest Center for Cancer.

The diagnosis of leukemia still takes their breath away.

"It just felt like, 'did he really just say that our daughter has cancer!?'"

"Well, Jalyn is an absolutely adorable 9-year-old, but when she was first diagnosed, she was really sick," explains pediatric oncologist Dr. Osma Khan.

He says her blood counts were dangerously low and leukemia had taken over.

What Jalyn remembers about that time was how one of her dogs seemed to sense her pain, and stayed glued by her side.

"One day I was sleeping and my mom came in to check on me to wake me for school and she just snapped at her," says Jalyn.

Her mom nods in agreement, "She had never done that before.  It's as though she was trying to make sure Jalyn could keep sleeping. "

Jalyn responded positively to chemotherapy treatment as her medical team and family hoped and prayed she would.

It's a standard treatment, but doctors at Jimmy Everest are working along with other oncologists around the world to constantly improve the treatment.

"Our efforts are not to just increase rates of survival but to also decrease long term effects of chemo," says Dr. Khan.

Some of those effects can be loss of motor skills on the dance floor or cognitive skills in the classroom.

Jalyn is taking everything in stride, and appears to be returning to her old self, and has already returned to dancing at Cinderella Studio.

"Jalyn has an excellent diagnosis," Dr Khan confirms.

Her mom agrees, "She is full of life, has always been energetic and happy. She loves life."

Jalyn's dad, Casey, pauses as tears well up in his eyes, "Man, she makes me melt.  She's way tougher than me."

If you'd like to help kids like Jalyn fight cancer, consider donating to JECFriends.org.

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