6-year-old fights cancer and gives back to others

By: Allison Kropff Email
By: Allison Kropff Email

KNOXVILLE, Tenn. (WVLT) - Leukemia is the most common form of childhood cancer. Doctors at Children's Hospital say the good news, is it has more than a 90% cure rate. In honor of Childhood Cancer Awareness Month we are introducing you to a 6 year old fighting the battle of her life.

Laura Arp is your average 6-year-old girl. She likes the color purple, the Disney Channel and painting her finger nails.

"She's a bubbly little kid. She'll make you laugh all the time. She's a good little girl," says her Mom, Angie.

But her childhood completely changed on November 7, 2007.

"It was horrible, horrible."

Angie says what started as a pain in her back turned out to be Acute Lymphoblastic Leukemia or A.L.L., which is a cancer of the blood.
Laura has been going through chemo and spending time here at Children's Hospital.

Laura is getting a spinal tap. "There's a funny doctor that tells me jokes every time they give me a spinal tap."

"They'll take fluid out of her spine and they'll put chemo in it," says Angie. She also takes chemo pills each night and steroids once a month. "That's hard on these kids. It changes their personality, and makes them feel bad. It's rough."

But like many kids who come to Children's, Laura has found ways to feel better. By giving back.

"She looks great, she's very active, her family is very active in Cancer Awareness," says Gail Rich, Laura's nurse.

Which not only helps Laura, but thousands of children in East Tennessee.

"Each time someone does something for cancer awareness, it brings in dollars for research and that is why through that research we've been able to provide the best care for these kids," says Rich.

Laura expects to finish treatments by the first of the year. You can hear the relief in her Mom's voice.

"Oh it'll be amazing. It'll be good."

Angie says she's still the same bubbly girl of 2 years ago, but with one change, those beautiful red curls.

"It was straight before it fell out. And it come back curly."

St. Jude's, Vanderbilt and Children's Hospital are all part of the Children's Oncology Group and have the latest treatments for cancer. So children here in East Tennessee don't have to leave home to get treatment.

Two events are benefiting Children's this weekend. The Bluegrass Festival in Farragut and the Emily and Maddie Motorcycle Ride in Maryville. Click on the link below for more information.

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