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Community rallies around girl battling rare cancer

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When Paige is feeling well, she goes to school; when she is not, a teddy bear keeps her place. 

Her classmates place notes inside the pockets of the teddy bear wishing her well.

The Flower Mound 7-year old has a rare form of cancer called Acute T-Cell Lymphoblastic Leukemia that affects the brain and spinal fluid.

The cancer is so rare that doctors were only able to find six other documented cases, and the worst part is that she was in remission for two years before the cancer recently returned.

A charity called Pennies for Paige was started to help defray medical expenses for treatment and travel, and steering committee member Jennifer Rogers said donations benefit the very special young girl.

“She went through chemotherapy for over two years, and they thought everything was OK,” Rogers said. “The family went on a vacation because she had passed all of her tests and everything was clear.

“They went to a camp up in Maine for the summer, which is for kids with cancer. While she was there, Paige had a reaction. They didn’t know if she had a mild stroke or what, but it turned out it was cancer, and it had settled in her brain and spinal fluid.”

Paige will have to go through chemotherapy once again, followed by cranial radiation and then likely a bone marrow transplant.

“Just to get her home from Maine, because they could not put her on a regular flight due to her weakened immune system and all of the equipment she had to be hooked up to, she had to take a medical flight that was $25,000,” Rogers said. “Fortunately, a family member stepped up and donated the money to bring her home.”

Rogers said, in spite of multiple trips to the emergency room, Paige is still in high spirits and was even able to do something she had always wanted.

“Her mom told her that when her hair started to fall out, she could dye it pink,” Rogers said. “She went to the salon and got her hair dyed pink yesterday.”

Pennies for Paige is placing piggy banks at local businesses, and will be have a community garage sale on Oct. 15, where anyone in Flower Mound hosting a garage sale that day who donates the proceeds to Pennies for Paige will have their garage sale advertised – a sign will be placed in their yard and they will get a receipt for tax write offs.

Pennies for Paige is encouraging people to either host, donate items to or buy items from a yard sale that day.

On Dec. 2, the charity will host a Wine Tasting and Silent Auction at Royal Affairs Ballroom in Lewisville.

Visit www.penniesforpaige.com for more information or to make a donation.

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