RICHMOND, VA (WWBT) - A little girl in Richmond is working to raise money for a life-saving radiation treatment.
8-year-old Asia Jackson was diagnosed with epithelioid sarcoma, a rare form of cancer, this past August. She's helping her family pay for proton radiation therapy, which isn't offered in Virginia, by making and selling beaded bracelets.
"Those bracelets are just so we can raise money so we can go to Florida," Asia said, as she sat with her doll at the kitchen table. Florida is one of the few places that has the medical equipment for the therapy.
Asia's form of cancer is usually only found in adults and spreads haphazardly through the body. "A regular tumor is in the form of a grapefruit or has a shape. This doesn't. It's just kind of all over the place," Asia's mother, Alison Greene, said.
In three months, Asia has endured four long surgeries. Her delicate neck, spine and arm are now severely weakened. She wears a "halo" brace screwed into her skull, to support her head.
However, somehow, Asia doesn't seem too bothered. Her bright personality takes over the room, and talk of cancer is on the back burner. "I giggle or eat ravioli," Asia joked, when asked what she does to stay strong. "She actually is what keeps us going, her attitude," Alison added.
In fact, after her most recent surgery on Halloween, there was just one question Asia had for the doctor. "Can I go trick-or-treating?" recalled the third-grader. Asia was discharged that afternoon and trick-or-treated as a zombie.
"She says, 'I'm not dying. I'm not going anywhere,'" Alison said. Asia is steadfast on recovering. However, she misses her friends, and most of all, dancing with her team. "I miss dancing. It's the most fun thing in the world," she exclaimed.
Asia hopes to get back to performing, after the treatment. Proton radiation will cost tens of thousands of dollars, and might not be covered since it's out of state. While Asia's family and friends continue to fundraise online and through bake sales, she's determined to string as many bracelets as possible.
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