CHARLOTTE, NC (WBTV) - If you're reading "30 Kids. 30 Stories. 30 Days." every day this month, then you're quite familiar with neuroblastoma. They call it a rare, but Aubrey Tart from
Miller's Creek in Wilkes County is the third one of our amazing Molly's Kids this month diagnosed with this orphan childhood cancer.
Six-year-old Aubrey had a massive tumor in her stomach. So large, it took 17-hours of surgery to remove.
"There was never any warning," says mom Kristi. "Her dad and I had no idea what to do when we were told our baby had cancer."
Kristi says the tumor was found by her pediatrician. He could feel the lump in her stomach.
"The tumor was 17cm x 9cm," said mom Kristi. "She was considered Stage III and high risk neuroblastoma. She had that surgery as well as a stem cell transplant and the harshest chemo I could imagine. But… BUT… it worked. She was declared No Evidence of Disease (NED) earlier this year."
Even better, she had a check-up two weeks ago and remains NED.
Aubrey has tests every three months, but is doing great. She started kindergarten last month.
School is a huge accomplishment, Kristi says. Two years ago they weren't sure that would happen. Aubrey was diagnosed in October of 2014 at the age of four.
"It's hard to describe to other parents what it's like to have a child with cancer," Kristi said. "I only reached out to write you after starting to read the articles on other #MollysKids… it always seems like their parents are at a loss, too. We're all in an ugly network we can't describe."
Kristi said Aubrey had some horrible side effects. She ended up with a feeding tube, massive weight loss, neuropathy, high fevers, crashing immune system, the list goes on.
"For all she has gone through, she continues to smile," Kristi said. "Even though there are horrible side effects, every picture we take of her has this same sweet smile."
Kristi says their family's purpose has always been to get their girl healthy.
"We want everyone to know there are hopeful stories," Kristi said. "My daughter – at least so far – is one of them. She had never given up. We remain blessed and grateful."
*Editor's note: This is about one of #MollysKids in the month of September, children WBTV Anchor Molly Gr antham follows closely on her Facebook page. It was first published there – which is why it's written in a personal way. For years Molly has followed hundreds of kids with uphill medical battles. During Pediatric Cancer Awareness Month, she features one a day. Thirty total. Find this story (and updates on all #MollysKids) here.