WEST SENECA, N.Y.- Erin McAneney refuses to give up. Cancer may be in her body, but she is a fighter and she's only 20-years-old.
The girl who was a track star at West Seneca West High School, had a sign on her bedroom wall "Never give up!" Never did she think it would take on new meaning.
When she was 17, just before her senior year in high school, she was diagnosed with a rare pediatric bone cancer called Ewing's Sarcoma. The diagnosis was July 2013. "I left junior year with a full head of hair and came back in my senior year and I was bald," she said.
She had to battle more than cancer after surgery. She became paralyzed from the chest down. "When the surgeon removed the tumor there was packing left in my spine called surgicel and it kind of just seeped into my spinal cord," she said so calmly while sitting in a wheelchair inside her family's home.
There were a couple of times she was declared cancer-free. McAneney participated in a clinical trial in Cleveland where a vaccine was made out of her tumor. "I had such high hopes for that vaccine and it didn't work," she said. The cancer is back and she remains a fighter. Now she is part of a new trial in Texas.
While the future is uncertain, McAneney is hoping to be a voice to spread awareness about childhood cancer. "It's 2017, we need to find a cure, there needs to be more awareness because this is just unacceptable. The children are the future."
She has a You Tube vlog that takes you on her journey. She shares her hopes, joys and disappointments. In one of her vlogs, or video blogs, she said "I can't die, I'm only 18-years old, there has to be something else I can do, like I have to fight this I can't let this kill me."
Erin dreamed of becoming an epidemiologist and working with sick children in third-world countries.
She refuses to give up her hope of being cancer-free and to walk again. She takes advantage of her wheelchair and even does wheelchair dancing. It's no secret she has a dream to meet singer Nicki Minaj. "I can keep wishing,"she said.
The cancer is now in Erin's bones. "I don't want to die, on the other hand, I find some peace in it because at least I know, I'll be in heaven and I won't be suffering from this paralysis anymore," she says.
Battling cancer is taxing on Erin's body and her family financially. You can find ways to help here: https://www.youcaring.com/erinmcaneney-734621.
(© 2017 WGRZ)