UPDATE: Cleveland 5-year-old girl with cancer undergoes successful surgery
UPDATE: A 5-year-old from Cleveland is recovering at St. Jude Children's Research Hospital after undergoing a more than 10-hour surgery on Thursday.
Olivia Weatherford is fighting stage 4 neuroblastoma and was first diagnosed at the beginning of April at Children's Hospital at Erlanger.
In an update on the family's Facebook page "Liv - In the Journey", her father, Aaron, says the surgeon was able to successfully remove more than 90 percent of the cancer in Olivia's body.
He says what is left, on the renal and celiac arteries, is small enough to be treated by remaining treatment.
Cleveland Mayor Kevin Brooks sent his well wishes to the family in a tweet Thursday, stating: "Please join us all in sending prayers from Cleveland for Olivia today at St. Jude. We love this girl and her family."
Aaron says in regards to Olivia's recovery, she will be in pain for a while, but they are "extremely pleased" with the results.
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Five-year-old Olivia Weatherford is fighting stage 4 neuroblastoma.
Their extended family, friends, and the entire community have surrounded them with support over the past 2 months since the diagnosis.
Olivia Weatherford, also called Liv, is fun, lively, and spunky.
She has two loving parents, Aaron and Sarah, and a younger sister and brother, Ella and Eli.
She was first diagnosed with cancer at the beginning of April with initial testing at the Children's Hospital at Erlanger.
"St. Jude came back accepting their case, which doesn't always happen, and they did accept their case," family friend and community organizer Bethany McCoy told Channel 3.
The whole family packed up and moved to Memphis for Olivia's treatment at St. Jude Children's Research Hospital.
"What Olivia is facing is very difficult and very hard for any child. So far, she has maintained strong spirits," McCoy said encouragingly.
To help the Weatherfords, people back at home in Cleveland are stepping up to offer support.
The newest activity is a fundraiser race happening at Greenway Park in Cleveland on Saturday, June 1st at 8:30am.
"Cleveland is an active community, and so we were trying to think of something to get people involved and bring a lot of people together and also raise funds. So, we came up with the idea of a 5K and family 1 mile," explained race organizer Camill Howard.
Currently, about 330 people have signed up to participate in the "Liv in the Journey" 5K and family 1 mile, and there is still more time to get involved.
"Interested runners and walkers can come to the park, Greenway Park, Saturday morning and register or pick up their packets from 7:30 to 8:15am. The race starts at 8:30 in the morning, so people can register all the way up to race time," assured Brittany Durkin, owner of Terra Running Company, who is timing the race.
All funds raised through the race registration go to the Weatherford family.
"It's helping them so much. They really do feel the love and that's what we want for this event is most importantly to just bring as many people together so that they can see visually how many people are thinking of them and supporting them," Howard said.
Additionally, the race has partnered with Kona Ice in Cleveland for their Pie Fling event.
You can make a donation to pie someone in the face. Money raised through the Pie Fling will be split between the Weatherfords and Children's Hospital at Erlanger.
Festivities on Saturday will last from 8:30am to 3pm at Greenway Park.
If you can't make it on Saturday, McCoy said one of the best ways you can support Olivia is by sending a letter.
"She loves going to the mailroom and having cards and letters and pictures to look at, and I would definitely just encourage people to send her letters of encouragement as well as her mom and dad," McCoy stated enthusiastically.
You can follow along on Olivia's path through their Facebook page called "Liv - In the Journey."
Their mailing address at St. Jude is
- Patient Olivia Weatherford
- St. Jude Children's Research Hospital
- 262 Danny Thomas Place
- Mail Stop 108
- Memphis, TN 38105