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Mary’s Story

Welcome to Mary's CaringBridge site. We've created it to keep friends and family updated. We appreciate your prayers, support and words of hope and encouragement during this time when it matters most.

If you'd like to receive a notification whenever we update her journal, you can click anwhere it says Notifications and choose if you want email or text messages. 

Before we get to Mary's story, here's a timeline:
Nov 15, 2012 saw orthopedist who sent her directly to Children's
Nov 16 after MRI and biopsy, diagnosed with osteosarcoma
Nov 20/21 bone scan and CT scan
Nov 26 EKG/Echo, met with oncologist - cancer is contained to right distal femur
Nov 30 Port placement surgery and first chemo of 10 weeks
Jan 2013 Researching and decision regarding surgery
Feb 12 Rotationplasty - done at Shands, Gainesville, FL
Feb 20-28 3 sessions of PT
Mar 1 First chemo of 2nd 10 weeks
Mar 4 Stitches removed, wound healing well
May 16 & 17 First chemo of 3rd 10 weeks and Mary brought her new prosthetic leg home
July 20, 2013 Completed chemo, scans all clear, NED
Aug 11, 2014 One-year post-treatment scans ALL CLEAR

Now here's Mary's story in her own words. 

My name is Mary Elizabeth Tankersley and I am 11 years old.I was born in Dallas, Texas and soon moved to Little Rock, Arkansas. When I was 4 years old, I moved to Atlanta, Georgia and I have lived here since that time.I attend Lost Mountain Middle School and I am in the 6th grade. I enjoy Language Arts, chorus and orchestra, and spending time with my friends. I like to read and my favorite books are The Hunger Games. Playing outside with my friends is always fun and something I like a lot. My favorite type of music is pop music and I love electronics. I attend North Metro Church with my family. I have several pets, a dog named Pepper and a frog. My little brother is Will, he is 10 years old.

For a few weeks, my knee was swollen and painful. My mom took me to an orthopedist to have it checked out. They took X-rays and were not happy with what they saw. They immediately sent me to the Children’s Hospital of Atlanta to have an MRI performed on my knee. I had to be admitted and they put in an IV and drew my blood. I spent the night in the hospital and the next morning I had the MRI. I waited for a couple of hours and then they took me to do a biopsy on my knee.  I remember having to wear a mask that contained “laughing gas”, then the smell changed, and I was asleep.  After I woke up, we were finally able to go home. 

When we arrived home, I slept with my mom in my parent’s room. I woke up the next morning and I was in a lot of pain. My parents lay in the bed with me and started talking about my diagnosis. They told me that I was going back to the hospital for more tests. I thought they were meaning that I was going to have to have surgery, but then they said that God brings us through everything and we need to trust. My daddy was tearing up and he said that I have bone cancer. I began to cry because I was thinking that cancer is very serious and I was thinking about how my Papa (my dad's dad) had just died from cancer. I did not want to die. My daddy explained that 80% live and the odds are more in my favor. My parents asked me if I wanted to tell any of my friends face to face, so I called several of my friends. 

At this point, I feel a little doubtful and I am scared. I am scared that I am going to die. I am scared of the needles, the procedures, and what is actually going to happen to me. I am worried that someone may make a mistake in my procedures and I may die. I am afraid of not having enough to eat and being hungry all the time. I am afraid that I am going to forget everything that I know and have learned. I am afraid of losing my friends. I am not going to be at school a lot and I will not be in the know. I am afraid that I am going to flunk 6th grade. I'm afraid DFCS is going to take me away from my parents because I've missed so much school. I am afraid that my foster sister will not care about me and will take advantage of the situation. I am afraid that I am not going to be able to walk again.  I am going to have metal in my leg. I am afraid that the port or IV’s will mess up my veins.

I am glad to have friends and family. I like to see all the support on Facebook for me. I hope my cancer is not as bad as my Papa or Alexa.

Latest Journal Update

Singing the National Anthem / Make-a-Wish

Hello friends, it's been a long time. Mary is doing great. She’ll be two years off-treatment next month and we just wanted to give you a few quick updates. First, Rally Foundation asked her to sing the National Anthem at an Atlanta Braves game this summer, so she’ll be doing just that on July 1 at the 7pm game. Yes, you read that right. She is singing the National Anthem! (I'm just a little nervous!) We are selling tickets to the game, and a portion of the ticket sales goes to Rally. If you’re interested in coming out, email me this week, as we are in the final days of ticket sales. (

Mary’s Make-a-Wish trip is finally here! We leave on June 20 for a week of scuba diving in Cayman Brac with the Dive Pirates Foundation. I think her request to scuba dive threw the MAW folks for a loop as they weren’t convinced she could do it. It took quite a while to get all the medical approvals, so in the meantime our family all got certified and went diving together last year. We all love it and can’t wait to get back under the sea this summer.

Next week Mary will go to camp at Camp No Limb-itations in Winder. It is for amputees, and there will be quite a few other rotationplasty friends there this year, including her friend Bailey. This will be her first time going to this camp. The following week she’ll go to Camp Sunshine, a camp for cancer kids in Rutledge, and Mary really looks forward to this camp each year.

We hope you are having a wonderful summer!

Alicia, Tray, Mary & Will 

I will praise the Lord all my life; I will sing praise to my God as long as I live. Psalm 146:2

34 people hearted this



Peggy Reese
By Peggy Reese
Family, praising the Lord for all His blessings on each of you, especially Mary. Scuba diving is just amazing and I'm so excited all of you are getting to experience another world here on earth together. God bless and have a great summer!
Norine cave
What a beautiful girl and awesome testimony! Keep shining your light for the Lord!

"For He Shall Give His Angels Charge Over Thee,
To Keep Thee In All Thy Ways". Psalm 91

Norine Cave
marilyn gray
By marilyn gray
How exciting and thrilling to be involved in all of these adventures this summer!!! So thankful for all God has done, is doing and will continue to do in her life as well as yours! ENJOY!!!
Mary Beth Dever
By Mary Beth Dever
So happy things are going well. These are the most precious moments! Enjoy your trip and I know Mary will have an awesome time at the camps. You guys are always in my prayers.
margaret pearson
By Margaret Pearson
Hi Mary,

I am thrilled that all has worked out for you to go on your scuba diving trip. Once again I say you are one more amazing young lady! I hope you and your family have a blast! Praises to the Lord.
Jean McConaughy
By Jean McConaughy
It's so good to hear and see how well you are doing! So thankful that you get to hang out with Bailey and others next week to rally around each other and have a blast. I'm praying that you'll continue to get good reports and the God will protect from all the adverse effects of treatment.....maybe you'll do the Cup Song for old times sake?!
Faye Martin
By Faye Martin — last edited
Mary, you are so beautiful. I am happy & thankful for you and your family.
Cynthia Waters
By Cynthia Waters
I am so thankful that Mary is doing so well! Praise God for His continued blessings on her and your family! The Waters' love you all.
Gloria Thompson
By Gloria Thompson
PTL!!! What a great post! So excited for the great things God is producing through Mary's testimony! Thankful she is doing awesome. She will encourage so many in both camps...and what a shining witness she will be at the Braves game!! Thank you for sharing your Joy with us!
Sam Won
By Sam Won
Wow! So good to hear how Mary is making the most of such opportunities. Talk about living life to the fullest! Thankful to see how God has blessed her and your family.through such a terrible struggle.