HAMPSTEAD, NC (WECT) - Cancer is a disease that affects all of us in some way, but it's hitting home especially hard for one family in Hampstead.
This year Shona Batchelor got the news every parent fears: Your child has cancer.
She says it started with a headache.
Kimberly's headaches lead to severe migraines, and eventually, Shona took her daughter to the ER at New Hanover Regional Medical Center, to find out what was going on.
12-year-old Kimberly Batchelor, is like most pre-teens. She likes playing with her puppy "Gunner," softball, basketball, and going on Facebook, but Kimberly's life is a bit more complicated than most kids her age.
Kimberly was diagnosed with Leptomeningeal Oligodendrogliomatosis. Not only is it hard to say, it's hard to find others with the disease.
Kimberly is one of only 30 people in the country diagnosed with this form of cancer.
"It has coated all the areas that this cancer would affect," said Shona, ""the brain, the brain stem, and her spine."
It's weakened Kimberly's body quickly. She says the hardest part about the disease, is no longer being able to walk.
"I'm always having to rely on someone else to push me around," said Kimberly.
As the saying goes, when it rains, it pours...
Just a few years before Kimberly's diagnosis, her mother Shona lost her job at a local architectural firm. The position was eliminated, due to the slump in the housing market. Along with losing her job, she lost her medical insurance.
To make matters worse, Kimberly's father died, making Shona a single mother of three.
Shona says Kimberly struggles almost daily. Often times she is so sick, she throws up for most of the day and has no appetite.
When things get tough, Shona says, it is hard to smile through the pain.
"There are days that you do feel like giving up, but you can't. When the child doesn't feel like fighting, you have to be there to fight for them," said Shona.
She adds, "A good part of this is what I feel like I've had to do for Kimberly, because she's had more bad days than good days."
The family has been back and forth to the UNC Cancer Center in Chapel Hill more times than they can count this year. From day one, doctors told Shona, Kimberly's cancer was so severe, she would need the maximum amount of radiation to save her life.
The Batchelors returned to Chapel Hill on Monday, and unfortunately, they did not receive good news. The radiation treatment was not enough to kill the cancer inside of Kimberly.
Instead, the disease has spread to her lower spine. There has been no improvement in her brain.
Doctors originally said if the radiation was unsuccessful, there may not be another road map.
The Batchelors will return to Chapel Hill next Tuesday, to go over their options with the medical staff.
"You just have to keep praying...continuously praying. When you're still asking why, you still have to pray, and you still have to keep your faith," said Shona.
The community of Hampstead has rallied behind the Batchelor family in a big way. Residents have hosted barbeques, car washes, wresting matches, bake sales, everything you can think of to raise money for Kimberly's medical bills.
"This community has become my family. I feel like, when something is going on with Kimberly, good or bad, I want to let them know," said Shona.
Locals have organized a fundraiser in Kimberly's honor.
On October 13, they will hold a tournament called "Fishing for Kimberly."
You can find the details on the event Facebook page here.
Copyright 2012 WECT. All rights reserved.
322 Shipyard Boulevard