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My 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.

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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
Oct 21 Three month scans scheduled

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.



6-Month Scans

Jan 28, 2014 7:44pm

I am thrilled to report that Mary’s 6-month scans were all clear! Some people knew these were upcoming and were praying for us, and we are so grateful for all your prayers for Mary’s health.

Mary’s doing great, and due to the cancer, she’s having lots of opportunities she wouldn’t normally have. Some are just plain fun, like visiting the Bert Show (Q100) and becoming a certified scuba diver. Others are related to cancer awareness and fundraising, like singing at the Blue Skies Christmas Concert. She’s been invited to speak at a fundraiser for TheTruth365 on March 1 in New York City! I (Alicia) will have the difficult job of accompanying her on that trip.

Another big event is coming up and we’d like you all to know about it. Mary and 4 other kids touched by childhood cancer will be “taking the stage” for childhood cancer research. It’s called Rally Idol and is a live musical event akin to American Idol, complete with 3 judges who are former American Idol contestants and finalists. Mary and the others will be performing, all in an effort to raise much-needed funds for childhood cancer research. Monies are raised through Votes and Sponsorship. You can learn more about this event, and you can cast a vote for your favorite idol, at http://rallyidol.org. You can also “Like” Rally Idol on Facebook and follow along with updates. And we’d love to see you come out for the event on March 21! 

Even though cancer is "bad," it is what the Lord had for her. He entrusted her with cancer, and now she is being given a platform. We all agree that she was given much, and now much is required, and it is her desire to be faithful to the Lord. Our pastor shared her story in church this week, and we continue to be humbled at how God seems to be using it to touch peoples' hearts and change lives. 

Thanks again for your continued prayers, interest and support of Mary, our family, and childhood cancer research. We appreciate you more than you know, and we wouldn’t want to be on this journey without you. 


The Tankersleys

From everyone who has been given much, much will be required, and from the one who has been entrusted with much, even more will be asked. Luke 12:48

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