SPRINGFIELD, Mo. (KSPR) - Megan White was 6 years old when she was diagnosed with a stage 4 Wilms tumor. It is a deadly cancer, also known as nephroblastoma, that starts in the lungs. She and her family credit St. Jude Children's Research Hospital with saving her life.
“They’re the reason I can do everything I want to do. They’re the reason I can dance. They’re the reason that I’m even here,” said cancer survivor Megan White.
If you would see Megan at a gym, you would think she is just another Kickapoo High School junior. But, when she talks, you can feel her inner strength as she recalls her cancer diagnosis.
“I only had a 60 percent chance,” Megan said. “The odds weren’t in my favor at that point.”
She and her dad said they found out something was wrong almost by accident.
“After she was dancing, my wife was trying a tank top on her and it looked like the horizontal stripes were just a little off. My wife kind of looked down and said, 'M, stop sticking your belly out like that,' and she said, 'I’m not,'” said Kasey White, Megan’s dad.
They rushed her from dance to a friend who is a doctor, who told them to take Megan right away to an emergency room.
“They ended up finding a six-pound tumor the size of a football that had swallowed basically her left kidney. This was on a Sunday -- on Mother’s Day,” Kasey said.
“I do remember being in the room when they told my parents and my parents started crying. I was just crying because I didn’t know what was going on,” Megan said.
“It turns your life upside down pretty quick. You go from going to soccer practice and dance classes to the hospital,” said Kasey.
Megan’s dad said doctors immediately started working with St. Jude Children's Research Hospital.
“We were on their doorstep at 8 o’clock the next morning,” Kasey said.
He said the cancer had moved to both of Megan’s lungs.
“I think my family would be in a pretty dark place without St. Jude,” Kasey said. “You hear about St. Jude, you see things about St. Jude, and maybe even you donate to St. Jude, but you really never know or understand until you walk in there.”
He said they remained in Memphis fighting cancer for several months. Megan did not let that stop her spirit or her feet.
“Her dance teacher at the time was sending the dance routines through mail to Memphis and we were going into the Amy Grant room and she was putting in the DVD and dancing with the IV pole next to her,” Kasey said.
Part of her treatment was chemotherapy, but one day she was finally done. Years later, you can tell how happy she was when you see pictures from her No More Chemo Party.
“It was on Halloween, so we were all dressed up. It was just great because I wouldn’t have to do the pumps anymore and I got to go home,” said Megan.
Megan has still got rhythm, her love for dance, and remains cancer free.
“It feels crazy, like it didn’t feel like it was 10 years ago,” Megan said. “I never would have thought I could have gotten through that.”
It is news she and her family will never tire of hearing.
“We have even more to be thankful for than just Megan being here. Our entire family’s happiness and health probably also belong to St. Jude,” Kasey said. “I thank the Lord every single day that they’re there. I really do.”
Megan enjoys being healthy and her first love: dance. She wants you to know, however, that her life now would not be possible without St. Jude Children's Research Hospital. That is why she wants others to donate to it.
“St. Jude doesn’t just help the kid that you know. They can help many other kids and it takes a lot to help those kids,” she said.
Here is the link to donate to St. Jude Children's Research Hospital.