MISHAWAKA, Ind. (WNDU) --- A Mishawaka teen and her family are raising awareness about bone cancer after she was diagnosed following Christmas 2018.
April Handley, Savannah's mother, says her daughter mentioned having pain in her left hip. The Handleys went to the pediatrician, who put Savannah on a steroid regimen, thinking the then-high school junior possibly had bursitis or one leg that was shorter than the other.
"[The steroids] didn't help at all," April remarked.
An MRI later indicated a mass in Savannah's bones, which turned out to be a form of bone cancer called osteosarcoma.
"It just hits you deep," April explained. "You never think something like that will happen."
The cancer has forced the high-achieving senior at Mishawaka High School to lose her hair, become sick, undergo surgeries and miss school. But she maintains a positive attitude with eight chemo treatments remaining.
"You need to live everyday to its fullest and just keep going," Savannah said.
Her treatment is expect to end around Christmas, ironically when she first felt the hip pain last year.
She and her mother are sharing their story to encourage other parents to pay close attention when their children complain of bone aches and pains.
"I just want to maybe, hopefully, if someone out there, like a teenager or young child is suffering from pains, that it could be more. You've just got to think of, 'It could be more. It could be more.' You need to check it out," she said.
Since cancer treatment is costly, Savannah and her family are selling T-shirts and to educate the community about osteosarcoma. The apparel can be purchased by clicking this link.