Tiffani's Miracle Makeover
By: CJ Cassidy
DONIPHAN, Mo. - A local community rallies to do its part for a southeast Missouri girl struggling with a deadly disease.
Just about anyone in Doniphan knows Tiffani Murray. She's touched many lives. Now, many hope to give back and touch her life.
Tiffani's family almost lost her twice in the past two years: once through Non-Hodgkins Lymphoma - a cancer of the immune system, and then later through Congestive Heart Failure - and she's only 12 years old.
With her big smile she looks like any other 12-year-old in love with life, except she's already died once, before doctors resuscitated her.
"I didn't know what to think, and I thought I just lost my baby sister, then they said we got her back," said Katelynn Murray, Tiffani's sister.
She said doctors told them they didn't want to give up on Tiffani's fighting spirit. After all, she survived a complicated bone marrow transplant back in January.
"She's very strong. She's full of life and joy," Katelyn said.
So much joy in fact, that's Tiffani's middle name, and folks in Doniphan decided to do what they could to build her a better future - literally.
"She would come to basketball games last year, and she would have her mask on you could tell by the look in her eye she was smiling underneath that mask, and it would just light up the whole gym," said Pastor Denver Jackson with the Doniphan Ministerial Alliance.
Friends say Tiffany's Miracle Makeover brought in dozens of people all wanting to pitch in, donate time and money and help create a $150,000 handicap accessible home.
"She has to be carried everywhere. This way when she gets to control her wheelchair she can get around by herself," said Jackson who helped organize the effort to build Tiffani's home.
"It's the greatest feeling to know you have all these people to back you up whenever you're in need," Katlyn said.
Now big sister Katelynn says she can't wait for Tiffani to come back home, and see that big smile on her face once again.
"She and my mom deserve every bit of it. They have went through so much and touched so many lives," Katlyn said.
If all goes well, Tiffani's expected to return home on Friday.
She came home last week after spending seven months in a St. Louis hospital, but had to be rushed back after she developed a high fever.