20. Growing Pains
A parent’s worst nightmare is something happening to their child, god forbid they wake up screaming in the middle of the night adding a layer of confusion and terror. When Abri Bentley did just that, her mother was in a panic. Abri complained of pains in her leg, so her mother took her to the doctor immediately.
19. Something Serious
Her mother’s mind was put to rest when doctors confirmed it was just growing pains! Almost every kid experiences some discomfort from growing pains and I don’t know about you, but I have some memories of how unpleasant they were. Her pain didn’t subside, however, and soon, the doctors confirmed something terrible…
It all seemed like a shock; in 2015, Abri was just a healthy normal little girl, enjoying time with her mom Nikkole, dad Rod, and sisters Ashlyn and Ariya, and now her life was about to change forever. Nothing about this journey was going to be easy, not even her diagnoses.
17. Normal Life
Abri and her family live in Scottsdale, Arizona, and before she got sick, they all loved spending time together outdoors. The little seven-year old’s favorite thing to do was to be on stage and dance. When she was a little older, she told Pheonix KPNX news channel that, “I always danced when I was little”. Her mom agreed that she seemed like the healthiest child.
16. No Alarm Bells
Abri had experienced growing pains before, so everyone thought it was nothing to worry about, including the doctors. A child becoming ill is everyone’s worst nightmare, but no one ever thinks it’s going to happen to their child. Until it does…
15. Emergency Room
The pain got so severe it crippled the young child, waking her from a deep sleep so many times, the symptoms couldn’t be ignored. Every time the pain would cause Abri to scream and cry, so Nikkole knew she had to take her daughter to the ER. She was terrified but hoped for the best…
After talking with doctors, they determined that she was fine. It didn’t make sense… she was in so much pain and yet they could find nothing wrong with her? The girl that loved to dance and jump around could barely do the things she once lived for. Her concerned mother felt like something was wrong, despite the doctors reassuring words.
13. Second Opinion
Knowing something wasn’t quite right, the family decided to take their daughter to get a second opinion. They decided to go to Children’s Hospital in Pheonix, Arizona. Her parents couldn’t shake the feeling that something was really wrong.
12. The Diagnosis
When they got the results of the biopsy, Nikkole and Ron’s worst fear came true; their child was diagnosed with cancer. Abri had one of the most aggressive bone cancers that affect children–Ewing’s Sarcoma. It looked like it was going to be a long and hard battle…
11. Ewing’s Sarcoma
Ewing’s sarcoma is a rare, but deadly form of bone cancer that usually affects children and young adults. It can be caught rather late as the symptoms are bone pain, swelling, and aching, symptoms that are also associated with growing pains. Luckily, in many cases, it can be treated and the patient can hopefully live a normal life. However, the treatment can be aggressive…
Most of the time, it can be treated with courses of radiation and chemotherapy. Sometimes, depending on the severity, it can require surgery which can potentially disable the patient. It was time for doctors to figure out what Abri needed–it’s a good thing she had her mom with her by her side.
9. Her Treatment
Poor Abri needed many rounds of chemo to help rid her little body of cancer. Doctors weren’t sure the course of treatment would work, but they were ready to fight. The seven-year-old had to deal with things no one should ever have too, let alone a child. She could no longer worry about playing outside, she now had to deal with feeling bad and losing her hair–something no little girl wants to deal with.
8. Staying Strong
Cancer is rough and can cause a lifetime of disabilities, but it’s a good thing Abri was strong. She kept her head up during the entire time, even when she didn’t feel good. Her parents admire her strength but say they will always remember watching her struggle because it’s the hardest thing they’ve ever seen.
7. Watching The Horror
Nikkole recounted the horror of not being able to help their little girl, “We can never forget the horror of watching our little girl become skin and bones with gray skin and black and blue eyes.” She has vivid memories of what it was like watching the whole ordeal, “Holding her while she cried as her beautiful, long, golden hair fell out in clumps on the floor. Our ears can never forget the screams while she begged us to help every time the needle was shoved into her chest at the beginning of every treatment and with every blood draw”.
6. After Chemo
In total, Abri had 6 rounds of chemo and beat her cancer. Although the tumor was gone, it had left a giant hole in her bone which made it impossible for her leg to function properly. Doctor’s decided the best option was to remove her leg so that she could learn how to use a prosthetic.
5. The Miracle
Although surgeons thought they were going to have to remove the leg, there were some who thought out of the box. Thanks to one of the most talented surgeons, they were able to create a new leg bone out of a donated arm bone from a cadaver. Abri, endearing as ever, calls her new leg her “arg” which is the hybrid of an arm and a leg. She really is the cutest warrior.
4. Learning To Walk
After the operation, Abri had to learn how to walk again. It took months to heal all the way, but that she did. It wasn’t enough to just recover, Abri wanted to get involved with the community that she was now apart of. She and her mom started going to see other families affected by childhood cancer. All she wanted to do was make other kids feel better.
3. Spread The Word
It became the family’s mission to inform everyone about childhood cancer. They wanted to let anyone and everyone know that childhood cancer is not rare because if it could happen to their Abri, it could happen to anyone. They often protest for more government funding to be allocated to research, and they support organizations that rally and raise money to help families affected by childhood cancer.
2. Empathetic Soul
Abri talks about the fundraisers are what keep the families going, without the money, unfortunately, there will be no cure,“The adults, they get all the money,” a passionate Abri added. “And when they get all the money, they get to live. The kids don’t get the money – they don’t get to be a grown-up, so it’s not that fair”.
1. Her Plea
She even made an emotional plea to the President to help all the children affected by childhood cancer, “Congratulations, you beat the odds. Please help us beat the odds against childhood cancer, too,” she said in an emotional video. “Some of us die from the effects of chemo. It’s just too much for our little bodies — it’s just not okay”. If it didn’t get his attention, it sure got ours.