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EUFAULA, AL (WTVM) -
An East Alabama family is going that extra mile to help their baby who is battling a rare type of cancer.
Auburn Grace Thomas, only 14 months old, may seem like an average toddler who likes to play and stay by her mother's side at all times. However, this little fighter is battling a condition called Primitive Myxoid Mesenchymal Tumor of Infancy. This cancer is rare. In fact, Auburn Grace is only the fourteenth patient diagnosed with it.
Auburn Grace's mother Suzanne Thomas said her daughter was diagnosed with cancer about a year ago. However, they found out Auburn Grace had this specific type of cancer only two weeks ago. Suzanne realized she had no time to waste, and she had to start collecting donations and funds to help her daughter.
"We are trying to raise money to help pay the bills, and get Auburn Grace to the doctors as much as we can," Suzanne said. "I have to remain strong for my family. I didn't even have time to weep. Every minute and penny counts now. I have to fight for my daughter."
The family hosted an event called Benefit Barbeque for Auburn Grace, and they wanted to host their barbeque the same day as Eufaula Pilgrimage in hopes of getting more donors.
"Eufaula Pilgrimage is held every year in April," Suzanne explained. "We wanted to do our event today, because we knew many people would be out on the streets."
The family travels to Birmingham from Eufaula at least four days a week to get Auburn Grace to her cancer treatments. So far, the toddler is only on medication. She's not on any special treatments right now.
"Doctors say chemo will not work, and she's too young for radiation treatments," Suzanne said. "It's so rare, and I'm scared whenever some doctors say they do not know what to do. I've read articles about other child patients with this cancer. This one child had the cancer cells in his legs, so he had to amputate his leg. Auburn Grace has the cancer cells in her back."
Suzanne said Auburn Grace used to cry because of her back pains. She's able to smile more now because she's on medication.
"My hope is that all her cancer cells will be killed," Suzanne said. "God has blessed us with kind donors. So far, we were able to collect about $1,000 in donation overall. We can get through this."
The family has spent more than $5,000 so far on Auburn Grace's treatments and doctors visit.
"We spend a lot of money on food, hotels and gas too, since we travel so much," Suzanne said.
The Thomas family is still collecting donations in hopes of saving Auburn Grace's life.
Anyone interested in donating can send checks and money orders to P.O Box 654, Eufaula, Alabama 36027.