McMinn girl finds hope and purpose in face of cancer fight

McMinn County girl finds hope and purpose in face of cancer fight

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"I was just having some chest pain and since I cheered, danced, and did gymnastics, we thought I pulled a muscle," Shaeleigh Brewer said. "I was just having some chest pain and since I cheered, danced, and did gymnastics, we thought I pulled a muscle," Shaeleigh Brewer said.
"One day you think your child has just pulled a muscle and the next day you hear the big cancer word, and it changes everything," said Shaeleigh's mom, Dana Pack. "One day you think your child has just pulled a muscle and the next day you hear the big cancer word, and it changes everything," said Shaeleigh's mom, Dana Pack.
"Being a very rare tumor, it is often delayed in diagnosis or missed in diagnosis," explained Dr. Ginger Holt, of Vanderbilt Children's Hospital. "Being a very rare tumor, it is often delayed in diagnosis or missed in diagnosis," explained Dr. Ginger Holt, of Vanderbilt Children's Hospital.

NASHVILLE (WATE) - An East Tennessee girl is bravely battling a rare form of bone cancer.

Shaeleigh Brewer is only 12, but she has had to grow up fast since her diagnosis of Ewing's Sarcoma in February.

Since then the Athens girl has gone through round after round of surgeries and treatment at Vanderbilt Children's Hospital in Nashville.

Now cancer is Shaeleigh's constant companion.

"I'm always tired and my head hurts, too," she said.

She was a typical cheerleading, Taylor Swift-loving, movie-watching kid until the cancer appeared.

"I was just having some chest pain and since I cheered, danced, and did gymnastics, we thought I pulled a muscle," Shaeleigh said.

"One day you think your child has just pulled a muscle and the next day you hear the big cancer word, and it changes everything," said Shaeleigh's mom, Dana Pack.

"Being a very rare tumor, it is often delayed in diagnosis or missed in diagnosis," explained Dr. Ginger Holt, of Vanderbilt Children's Hospital. "So the tumors come to us large and expanded."

Dr. Holts says Ewing's Sarcoma is mostly seen teenagers, but it is very rare.

"There are only 100 to 200 cases a year in the United States that we see," she said.

A tumor on Shaeleigh's femur required surgery on her leg.

"She's been beaten down with chemotherapy," Dr. Holt said. "We took the bone out of her leg, replaced it, put plates, screws, pins in and we sent her back for more chemotherapy, and she comes back to the clinic smiling saying, 'What do we do next/ Where do we go next?' And that is unbelievable."

The next step is removing another tumor and all or part of a rib.

"It's been kind of hard, but it's part of chemo and cancer, and it's just kind of my life now," Shaeleigh said.

Her life contains a few dark days that offer surprising bright spots.

"Now I'm more comfortable in my own skin and I know that it doesn't matter what you look like," Shaeleigh said. "But the best part is God picked me to be a warrior and He has a plan for me."

Shaeleigh says her immediate goal is to get back to school and cheerleading as soon as she can.

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