CHARLOTTE, NC (WBTV) - I'm not sure I believe Rhabdomyosarcoma is a "rare" childhood cancer. 19-year-old Torie Costa is the third in our area I've heard about this month alone.
Torie is a recent William A. Hough High School graduate and student at UNC Charlotte. This knockout Cornelius girl is taking a break from UNCC to go through treatments at St. Jude Affiliate Clinic at Novant Health Hemby Children's Hospital.
Maybe you recognize her from the Miss Teen North Carolina pageant in 2013?
She was there with no hair. Won Miss Congeniality.
Or, maybe you recognize her from walking in local fashion shows like you see here?
Torie was diagnosed as Stage IV in June of 2012. After 54 weeks of aggressive chemo and radiation, she was declared cancer-free. The cancer came back this past June. Popped up on a routine 3-month scan. She's back in the throngs of full-fledged treatment.
"My daughter is amazing," wrote Marnae Costa. "She tries to bring awareness, while also trying to save her own life."
That's a goal no teenager should face.
Tomorrow, a cool painting project is happening in Torie's honor. It'll be in NoDa at Free Range Brewing from 3pm-6pm. Anyone who shows up can decorate tiles to be used in a mural eventually placed in the entrance room of Novant Health.
The mural will benefit Grier's Gallery, a non-profit dedicated to supplying kids in the hospital a chance to express themselves through art.
Tomorrow, Sept. 12th. 3pm-6pm.
"We're excited," said Marnae. "This project will be a collection of the love and support from the community."
Send a picture after the mural is done, Marnae. Sounds fantastic.
September is Pediatric Cancer Awareness (ACTION) Month. Do what you can. Share Torie's story. Share all 30 stories this month.
Help turn awareness into ACTION.