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In her own words... St Baldrick’s Ambassador: Avery Kate Leachman

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By Stevie Lowery

The Lebanon Enterprise had a Q&A session with St. Baldrick’s Ambassador Avery Kate Leachman. We wanted to get to know more about this brave little girl.

Age: Nine - 4th grade at St. Aloysius in Oldham County
Diagnosis: Papillary Thyroid Cancer
Date of diagnosis: May 2012
Status: In maintenance
Treated at: Kosair Children's Hospital, Norton Healthcare

• Favorite subject in school: Science because I like to learn about animals.
• Favorite things to do: Play volleyball and watch TV and movies.
• Favorite food: Bacon
• Favorite singer: Miranda Lambert

• What went through your mind when your parents told you that you had cancer?
I was scared. I thought about the other things I’d seen on TV about people with cancer. I was thinking I might lose my hair and I thought about dying. But my mom and dad told me it was the kind of cancer that was treatable. That made me more relaxed. And they told me that people who lose their hair when they have cancer have to have a medicine called chemotherapy but I didn’t have to take that medicine. They told me I wasn’t going to die from this, so that made me feel better too.

• I bet having to have surgery was scary, huh? What was the scariest part?
Going back to the operating room right before surgery. I was scared it was going to hurt and I didn’t want to leave my mom and dad.

• The three days of treatment when you were by yourself a lot... That had to be really scary. What did you do to help you not be scared?
I watched so many movies. I can’t even remember which ones. I could finally eat bacon and Subway sandwiches and other things that I hadn’t had in a long time.  It was pretty lonely, but it was okay.

• What did you look forward to most when your three days of treatment were over?
I looked forward to seeing my brother and hugging my mom and dad again. I missed my family and seeing my friends.

• If one of your friends had this happen to them... What sort of advice would you give them?
I would remind them that this is the easy kind of cancer and it’s not as bad as you think it is. I would tell them to listen to the doctors and do what they say. And to bring applesauce with you when you have to take the pill for your treatment. It’s a really, really big pill and the applesauce helps it go down.   Oh, and when you have to give blood you have to ask for the J-tip. It numbs the spot where the needle goes in and make it not hurt so much.