CHARLOTTE, NC (WBTV) - She has been battling cancer for just about her entire life and she's only nine years old.
A child shouldn't have to go through what Kenlie has faced already in her lifetime as a pediatric cancer patient. But fundraisers like the St. Jude Dream Home giveaway in Charlotte are giving her and her family hope.
During our interview with Kenlie and her mom, Jennifer, Kenlie stayed busy working on her drawing.
The effects cancer has had on her little body were obvious, and not just the hair loss.
"How difficult of a decision was it to amputate?," I asked. "It was very difficult," says Jennifer. "The thought of doing that when she was first diagnosed…it was the worst imaginable thing that could happen to us as a family and to Kenlie."
Kenlie's left leg is amputated above the knee. Diagnosed with synovial sarcoma in her knee in 2008, she left her hometown to get treated at St. Jude Children's Research Hospital. After chemo the cancer kept recurring and moved to other parts of her body.
"Kenlie has probably had at least 10 surgeries here," Jennifer explains. "Not to mention the chemotherapy, the radiation. She's had radiation on her lung, on her groin, on her knee, twice."
Ask Kenlie's family how much all of that treatment cost them? How much they paid to travel with her to St. Jude? The cost of staying with her day-in and day-out during her treatment? The answer is zero. The Dream Home giveaway helps cover that cost so parents can focus on their child getting better.
"It's such a relief and the fact that they help you with travel expenses and with your meals. It's huge. It's huge," Jennifer says.
It's St. Jude mission to increase the childhood cancer survival rate to 90 percent over the next decade. With your $100 Dream Home ticket, Kenlie hopes to eventually say she too beat the odds as she expressed in her own unique way in her drawing.
"What does it say??," Jennifer asks, looking at the words her daughter drew, then saying them out loud. "Cure. Survivor!"
What's great about St. Jude, the innovative cancer treatments they discover are shared with doctors here in Charlotte and across the Carolinas. Through the St. Jude Dream Home giveaway we're hoping to raise more than one million dollars to find a cure. Get your tickets now at 1-800-592-1602. You can also buy your tickets online at www.dreamhome.org.
- Christine Sperow