CHARLOTTE, NC (WBTV) - Mom with her daughter. Newest one of our #MollysKids.
Don't be fooled – it's not the child we're talking about.
Mom Maggie Dzhanumova was 21 years old when she was diagnosed with Stage 3B Hodgkins Lymphoma in late 2014. An age still considered "pediatric cancer." She was a new, young, single mother. Her diagnosis came three months after her baby girl Isabella was born.
"I literally went from chemotherapy to changing a diaper to studying for exams in school," said Maggie. "It was hard. Some might say 'impossibly hard'. But I never said 'impossible'. With a positive attitude you can do anything."
Maggie and Isabella – who's now 2 – live in Matthews. I met them both a few weeks ago at a Leukemia and Lymphoma Society luncheon. Maggie gave a speech to the 200 people listening.
She stood proudly and said she was there to tell us about the importance of love.
It was powerful. Please read these excerpts she later sent me:
All of us were in tears.
Maggie ended by saying she's a Junior at the University of Phoenix studying health care management. Her dream is to go to nursing school and become a pediatric oncology nurse.
Maggie is now in remission. As for Isabella, she won't remember her mom's cancer journey. Years from now she'll have to watch this video to see her attitude and strength. It's a fun video. Maggie invites you to watch as well.
You can message Maggie on her Facebook page, HERE.
September is Pediatric Awareness Month. Maggie's a unique story because as a young mother you wouldn't necessarily consider her a "kid". What I adore – what you can tell when she excitedly runs up to you with Isabella on her hip – is that her spirit is boundless.
"I made it," she told me. "I made it through three surgeries, six months of chemotherapy, shaving my head, wearing a wig and wearing a smile when I really wanted to frown." Pediatric cancer research is grossly underfunded. People out there still don't know "kids" get cancer.
Help us spread the word, give of time, money and love. Share Maggie's story. Share all thirty stories here this month. One a morning. All in our backyard.
**Editor's note: This is a about a member of #MollysKids, one of the kids WBTV Anchor Molly Grantham follows closely on her Facebook page. This article was first published there – maybe you'll be able to tell that in the personal way it's written. For years Molly has followed the stories of dozens of kids with uphill medical battles. Find this story and updates on all of #MollysKids here.**