(Photo courtesy of the Tankersley family)
MARIETTA, Ga. -- Mary Tankersley can't go to school for a while. The 11-year-old Acworth girl was diagnosed with osteosarcoma a few months ago.
On her CaringBridge page, Mary wrote that she's afraid she'll flunk 6th grade, afraid she will lose all her friends, afraid she'll die.
PHOTOS | Mary Tankersley
Mary's dad Tray is a bit of a preacher. He works in ministry at North Metro Church in Marietta.
Alicia, Mary's mom, gains strength from her faith and the friends who've showered her family with support. Still, she says it's crushing to have a child with cancer.
"As far as why Mary has cancer, we don't know," Alicia said. "But we know God has a plan."
Mary says that when she prays, "I ask (God) to heal me, but if He has something else planned, that He show me."
And right now, Mary is a bit of a medical miracle. She recently underwent a surgery so rare, it's only performed about 15 times a year.
Mary's doctors decided to perform a rotationplasty, where they removed the middle part of her right leg, then attached her lower leg, ankle and foot to the upper part of the leg, with the foot facing backward.
With a soon-to-come prosthetic leg and her ankle working like a knee, Mary will become almost as active as she was before.
The day before Mary's surgery, many people, including the pastor, wore pink "Rally for Mary" T-shirts.
A fundraiser for the Tankersley family will be held this Friday, Mar. 15 at 7 p.m. at North Metro Church. The event includes a dance for students at Mary's school, Lost Mountain Middle School.
Admission is $10. North Metro Church is located at 2305 Barrett Parkway.
Tax deductible donations to the Tankersley family can also be made at any Synovus bank branch, which includes Bank of North Georgia locations. Visit synovus.com to find your closest branch; be sure to ask that the money go to the Mary Tankersley Benefit Fund.
Mary's extended family in Statesboro is collecting donations at Sea Island Bank as well. Money can be mailed to Sea Island Bank, Mall Branch, P.O. Box 568, Statesboro, Ga., 30459.