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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

We're DC Bound

We’re DC Bound

We’re half-way through Childhood Cancer Awareness Month and we wanted to share a few highlights and things we’re excited about.

1. At a Friday night football game our local high school, Harrison, recognized 12 families connected connected with Harrison who have children with cancer. They also ramped up their fundraising efforts this year and raised $8000 for research.

2. This weekend Tray, Mary and I are headed to Washington, DC to participate in CureFest for Childhood Cancer. CureFest is a festival on the National Mall which seeks to unite cancer foundations, the government, and people who care about childhood cancer. Mary and her friend Bailey will be performing a song, and they and their friend Gabi will be speaking at the festival. We are doing what we can to raise awareness and funds for this important cause.

3. Next week Lost Mountain Middle School (Mary and Will’s school) is holding Rally Week with all kinds of ways to raise awareness and funds for Rally Foundation. Monday night there will be an auction at Marietta Pizza Company, and the restaurant is giving 10% of proceeds to Rally. There will also be a night at the Braves game including a Rally walk around the field. They’ve already sold t-shirts for this event. And finally Friday will be collection day. Last year they raised $12,000 in this one week. Your school could hold a similar event, and I can help you learn how to do that.

4. Finally, we got off to such a great start with Mary’s 46 Faces of Rally campaign, that we raised our goal! We have less than $600 to go to meet our goal of $2500. Can you help? Any amount makes a big difference. You can use the link or mail a check to Rally Foundation, 5775 Glenridge Dr NE #370, Sandy Springs, GA 30328.

On a personal note, Mary continues to do great but she’s had a lot of pain in her good leg the past few months. We’ve been to two doctors and her PT about it and the consensus is it’s from overuse or mechanical mis-use. She is now working diligently to strengthen her left leg, knee and hip muscles, and is still focusing on good mechanics in her walking. As soon as the left leg is better, she’ll resume focus on running.

Thanks for caring! Go Gold!


29 people hearted this



Kari Pascoe
By Kari Pascoe
DC??? What an AWESOME thing you're doing! It makes my heart glad to read your posts & how you are impacting the childhood cancer research for good! Miss & love you guys! Blessings always! The Pascoe Family
1 person hearted this
Norine cave
Dear Mary and Family,
Always great to hear of your blessings and see your light continually shining for the Lord.
You are in our prayers and we Know that GOD will continue to see you through.
You will always have our support.
GOD Bless You!
"For He Shall Give His Angels Charge Over Thee,
To Keep Thee In All Thy Ways." Psalm91

Praying,Trusting and Believing,
Norine Cave
1 person hearted this
Michelle McCormick
By Michelle McCormick
WOW!!! God is so good and so faithful!!! Love hearing how He is working in and through you guys and your journey to be such a blessing and inspiration to others!!! All glory to God!!!

Mary, I so love having you in the Island with me!!! Your light shines so brightly for all those little ones to see!!!

Big Hugs and much love to all of you!!!
1 person hearted this
Jennifer Punch
By Jennifer Punch
I am so blessed to get to lead this amazing girl at Sublime small group each week! Tell Mary to post the events on our small group instagram!!! :) Ya'll be safe and the Punch Family will be praying!!
1 person hearted this
Wendy Harris
By Keely George
Thank you for the update, you guys are busy!!!! Amazing how God has used your journey to help others - breathing in his praise and breathing out his grace!
2 people hearted this
Patricia Craig
By Patricia Craig
3 people hearted this