Lawton 10-year-old fighting optic nerve tumor

Kids with Courage
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LAWTON, Okla. - It's a fall day, and you can practically feel the warmth from a Lawton kitchen where Amelia Winters is baking with her grandmother.

They are making buttermilk brownies and Amelia is quick to grab the spatula to get a few delicious licks after the batter goes in the oven.

"I think the cook is eating all the batter," laughs her grandma.

Amelia's ability to read the recipe was actually threatened just a few months ago.

"She was diagnosed by her pediatrician. She saw it right away," said her mother, Kim Winters.

She says the pediatrician picked up on the fact that a genetic disorder called Neurofibromatosis runs in the family. It causes tumors to form on nerve tissue, which can be benign or in some cases, malignant.

The pediatrician recommended the 10-year-old be sent to Jimmy Everest Center forCancer for further testing since some complications from the condition can be internal.

It was extremely fortunate that the Winters family did just that.

"They found a tumor that entwined itself in her optic nerve, so it's almost part of the optic nerve. You'd run a big risk of damaging her eyesight if you go in and remove it," said Amelia's dad, Brian.

Pediatric oncologist Dr. Renee McNall-Knapp described the tumor further, saying "it was right in the chiasm where both optic nerves meet, so it could affect both eyes."​

To make matters worse, tests revealed the tumor was still growing.

Dr. McNall-Knapp immediately recommended chemotherapy treatments which saved Amelia's eyesight.

"We got to find the tumor before she had any vision loss whatsoever, so that's given us more room to maneuver," explained Dr. McNall.

Her treatment will continue through next June and doctors will closely watch for other complications from Neurofibromatosis after that.

Amelia has done well with the treatment, although at times, it zaps her energy.

When Amelia isn't baking, or pulling pranks, you'll find her on the dance floor at a Lawton ballet studio. This year, she has been cast to dance in The Nutcracker.

Kim Winters says her daughter is often reserved, but when she's dancing, her personality comes out and shines.

Their family has been through a lot, because she's had a cancer battle of her own.

The Winters say their faith, their support system, and the team at Jimmy Everest Center for Cancer, are giving them every reason to hope for a bright future.

"I see Amelia being successful and marching through this as the trooper she is already. We've always told her, you may be small but you are mighty," said her mother.

If you'd like to help kids like Amelia fight cancer, click here.

Kids with Courage is sponsored by the Jimmy Everest Center. 

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