by Anita Foster, American Red Cross Regional Communications Officer, Dallas, Texas
An inspiring Mother-Daughter duo visited the American Red Cross in Dallas yesterday, complete with matching t-shirts and smiles. It was hard to miss the slogan on the front – “My God is bigger than cancer”, or the Twitter hashtag on the back in support of #TeamRaeleigh.
You see, Raeleigh (pronounced ray-lee), three-years old, is fighting a battle much too big for such a little girl. She has cancer of the spine. Earlier this year, cancer caused this highly active child to lose her ability to walk. She also lost her hair due to the difficult cancer treatments, but what she didn’t lose was her fighting spirit.
Like all kids, Raeleigh loves Mickey Mouse, coloring and using her imagination. When we took the duo to tour the blood donations labratory, Raeleigh made it clear that what she did not love was anyone in a lab coat! Totally understandable. She’s has already received six blood transfusions—more than most people would ever receive in a lifetime. And sadly, her need for blood isn’t over. Today, she started her second round of chemotherapy.
Doctors told her mother, Britnee Hogue, that the cancer could take away Raeleigh’s ability to ever walk again. It was hard to believe as she darted around the Red Cross like a championship sprinter, even in her leg braces. She’s defying all the odds and we’re honored that the Red Cross can be in the fight with her by providing needed blood products.
In situations like this, undeniably unfair, it might not feel like there’s much we can do to help. But thanks to the hashtag, we can all show our love to this tiny fighter. For you Twitter users, jump onto your feed and give a shout of support to #TeamRaeleigh. Show this little superstar and all of her family that we’re cheering her on!
Cancer might take her hair and create physical setbacks, but what I learned from this little girl is that it won’t take her extra special heart. As she begins a new round of chemotheraphy, our hearts are with her. We know she’ll be fighting hard. And we’ll be there to help if and when needed. What an honor.
*Every two seconds, someone in our country needs blood. Please consider becoming a regular blood donor in honor or memory of someone you love. Make an appointment at http://www.redcross.org, call 1-800-REDCROSS or download the Blood Donor App to find a blood drive near you.*