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STARKE â€” A benefit to help 3-year-old Skyla Clabaugh, whose family lives in Knox and North Judson, will be held Saturday, Sept. 28 at the Gospel Lighthouse Church on Pacific Avenue in Knox.
"Skyla's family will be hosting a dinner/benefit from 1 to 4 p.m. at the Gospel Lighthouse church to help defray the cost of traveling back and forth for chemotherapy treatments and any medical bills,"Â said Skyla's grandmother Missy Trent.
Ten months ago, Skyla was diagnosed with cancer.
"Last November, Skyla was diagnosed with Nephroblastoma, also known as Wilms' tumor. Wilms' tumor most often occurs in just one kidney â€” though it can sometimes be found in both kidneys, as is the case with Skyla," Trent said.
After diagnosis, Skyla and her family traveled to Kentucky to meet with doctors who would hopefully have a good prognosis to offer young Skyla.
"Skyla was sent to Children's Hospital in Louisville, Ky. A team of doctors met with B.J. and Valerie (Skyla's parents) and decided to monitor the tumors. Wilms' tumors have been known to completely disappear when the child reaches 7 or 8 years old," said Trent.
This past summer, test results indicated Skyla not only still had her tumors, but they had gotten bigger.
"Every three months, Skyla had an MRI to check the size of the tumors. In August, She started having the MRIs done at Riley's Children's Hospital in South Bend. The MRI results showed that the tumors had grown," Trent said.
Skyla's doctors came up with a course of action that will hopefully eradicate the tumors from young Skyla's kidneys.
"The plan is to do six rounds of chemotherapy, once a week for six weeks. On the seventh week, an MRI will be done again. If the tumors have shrunk, no surgery will be needed. If they haven't shrunk, she will be scheduled for surgery to remove the tumors. Either way, after week seven, she will have chemotherapy every other week for six months," Trent said.
Trent said Skyla is a real trooper. And even though she is fighting a mighty big battle for such a small child, her spirit is still energized with that special kind of energy that only children have â€” Skyla also enjoys the people who are very special in her life.
"Skyla is so loving. She loves to cuddle. She has such a creative imagination. She loves to play McDonald's. She will pretend to be the waitress and take our orders. She loves Hello Kitty and Veggie Tales. She loves to have pretend birthday parties for everybody. Every day is somebody's birthday. She loves her brothers: Aiden, Rylee, and Bentlee. She has a favorite cousin named Campbell," Trent said.
Trent said after treatments, Skyla is usually ill for about two days. But after that, she is back to being a carefree, loving three-year-old.
Skyla's great grandmother Flo Howard said her little granddaughter prays every night for Jesus to give her a miracle.
"She pinned a prayer cloth to her pillow. The prayer cloth is where the disciples prayed over aprons and handkerchiefs and sent them to the sick and they were healed. Skyla also kneels by her bed and says, 'please Jesus heal my kidney's in the name of Jesus, amen,'" said Howard.
People who cannot make the benefit, but who would like to help this young girl and her family may do so by contacting Missy Trent at 574-896-3611.