ARKADELPHIA, Ark. (KTHV) - In Arkadelphia, students got a little extra time outside on Friday, but it wasn't because of good weather. Teachers at Central Primary School held their annual Relay for Life and wanted to bring more awareness to cancer.
Second grade student Colleen Herron has been through four surgeries to end her fight against it. Right now she is cancer free, but that wasn't the case just one year ago. Her mother Kelly Haddox and stepfather Dexter Haddox said it’s been quite a journey.
"She's our hero, she's a lot of people's hero, and we love here,” Kelly said. "In 2015 and 2016 she had to undergo treatment, surgery to remove a tumor that she had in her leg."
8-year-old Colleen Herron was diagnosed with a rare cancer called Adamantinoma located in her left leg. It's believed that only 200 people in the world are living with this disease right now.
"With her first surgery they took out a small unit in her tibia,” Kelly said.” And with the second one, when it came back, we decided to go ahead and remove the tibia itself and replace it with a donor bone."
Physical education teacher Ryan Ellison was excited to bring awareness to the issue of cancer. He and other teachers raised more than $3,000 for their school's Relay for Life event. They believe it’s a way to get students out and playing, while also bringing awareness for people like Colleen.
"It's amazing the outpouring of support we've gotten because of Colleen this year for our Relay for Life program,” Ellison said. "It's a way for people to show their support for people who are battling cancer, and I think it's just a great way for everybody to come together and we can all help fight this horrible thing together."
For now, we wait for healing and remain hopeful that the cancer doesn't return to her leg.
"I think it’s important that your kids do see you happy and that life does go on,” Kelly said. "A lot of people survive cancer, I think it's important.”
Colleen will remain in her wheelchair for a few more months.
“The only way to keep a kid happy," Dexter said, “is to keep a smile on your face and let them know you're happy."
The money raised will be donated to the American Cancer Society. It’s not too late to help out with the effort you can click here to donate.