Cape Girardeau girl's story of hope and faith
By: Crystal Britt
By: Crystal Britt
CAPE GIRARDEAU, Mo. - The familiar sound of a dribbling basketball is sweeter than ever right now to 12-year-old Sahara Aldridge. There's a reason people call her "hoops", and in a way, a favorite past time with dad in the front yard might have saved her life.
"My right hand wasn't working as well as it should", said Sahara. "She went straight left-handed and at that point I knew something was wrong", said Shannon Aldridge-Sahara's Dad.
He was right. "We went to St. Louis a couple days later and they did a biopsy and they said you have a level four brain stem tumor", said Sahara. "The prognosis was not good, they basically told us... a year to live and that was the way it was going to be", said Shannon.
All shocking words that no parent wants to hear. "A completely healthy child who barely ever has a cold, suddenly has a brain tumor? It's hard to process", said Amy Aldridge-Sahara's Mom.
They decided, they wouldn't let cancer win. They got a second opinion and within days Sahara was admitted to MD Anderson Cancer Center in Houston. After radiation, and eight rounds of chemotherapy "The doctor says the tumor is shrinking", said Sahara. "When we got to Houston she was in a wheelchair, and now she's able to play basketball on the driveway and skip down the hall for the doctor", said Amy.
Sahara amazes everyone she meets and everyone wants to help.
"We are approaching a half a million dollars", said Shannon Aldridge. Medical bills are piling up, and Sahara has at least another year of treatments left. The community is stepping up, thousands of dollars have been raised through concerts and other fundraisers.
Sahara's teachers and friends at school can't wait for her return. "We decided to send her a care basket. The kids included a t-shirt they signed. They put a gift card for $250", said teacher, Mike Dumey.
Cape Junior High School has sold thousands of bracelets and t-shirts. "We'd love for Sahara' to come back to school, and we know she's ready to come back too", said teacher, Tanda Smith.
Sahara's also been showered with caring words and gift packages from all over the world. "It's amazing that so many people who don't even know you are caring so much", said Sahara. That support, and her infinite amount of hope keeps Sahara smiling each day. "Put your faith in God, and he's the great healer, he can heal anything", said Shannon. "You've just gotta know everything will be okay. If you just want it to be. You wish and you pray and everything will be okay", said Sahara.