BRISTOL, VA (WJHL)- One Bristol family was hit this year with the reality their five year old daughter has a rare form of cancer, causing tumors on her nerve tissue.
Doctors say the disease may alter her appearance, and can’t give many answers on what her future may look like.
But, her family is finding the good, and enjoying every minute with their little girl.
Madison (Maddy) Faith King just turned five.
“I mean she’s lively, she’s amazing,” Madison’s Mom Laura King said.
Full of energy and dance moves, the absence of her blonde hair is the only outward sign she’s going through chemotherapy.
When Madison was born, “We were told that she may have a disorder called neurofibromatosis, usually it’s very mild and you won’t really show any symptoms until after puberty, so we just kind of went on like it’s not a big deal,” King said.
But as she grew, she started walking and talking later than most, and when she got to preschool, “She was scoring bottom level on everything, and I was like you know she’s a smart kid I don’t know how that could be happening,” King said.
So her parents took her to the doctor earlier this year and after days and tests, “We got a call saying to get her straight to Johnson City Medical Center. And that’s where we spent the entire day finding out she has cancer, she has some behind her eyes and in her brain stem,” King said.
It is the last thing you want to hear about your little girl who has her whole life ahead of her.
“I was so angry the first few weeks,” King said. “Why would something like this happen to such a precious, sweet little girl?”
Faced with more questions than answers about this rare disease, “Her future is cloudier than anything,” King said. “The tumors can come up anywhere.”
The Kings said right now they are trusting in the only certain thing in their lives.
“We have faith in the Lord and I know that he’s taken care of her every step of the way,” King said. “I’ve accepted that it’s going to happen and I know that the Lord has helped, she may not be cured right now, but he has given me the strength personally, he has given my husband the strength, to get through every single day without losing our minds.”
Madison has seen some touching signs of support from her family along the way. Her brother Issac shaved his head as soon as they found out she might have to.
But shaving her head was only the start of the changes.
“Her skin will change. The birthmarks that she has…they’ve grown, she gets more of them, that’s just the birthmarks alone, and people get made fun of. It’s not drastic right now, but then she’ll start getting the nodules under her skin and they will also be visible,” King said.
So the Kings are making sure she knows different is beautiful, even hanging a sign with those words on her wall.
“She’s strong willed and she’s just happy, even when she has her chemo,” King said.
King said in the midst of uncertainty about the disease, finances, and Madison’s future, “The Lord has already worked in so many ways. Financially, because the day we were told about this we panicked, we never said anything to anyone, we prayed about it but we were just like, how are we going to be able to afford this,” King said. “And people just came out and they’ve helped us in so many ways. So between finances, and strength and courage the Lord has helped us.”
To help the King’s cover Madison’s medical expenses Kaitlyn Baker, an emerging singer and song writer is performing at a benefit concert called “Music for Madison.”
“Having had cancer in my family, I have a soft spot for anyone else who is dealing with it,” Baker said. “Maddy has such a great spirit, in spite of everything she’s going through. I’m glad to do something to help out.”
The concert will take place Saturday, September 12th at 7 p.m. at Lee Theatre in Pennington Gap, VA.
You can call 276.546.4000 to get tickets for $15.