11-year-old battles rare form of cancer usually found only in adults

- Le'choyne Starks is an energetic fifth grader, strong student and loving daughter.

Her world was turned upside down after she was recently diagnosed with a rare form of cancer. And now Cortreal Starks is trying to be strong for his 11-year-old daughter who is in the fight of her life.

"It's really hard on her, because it is new for her and it is something scary for her," he says. 

A few weeks ago doctors diagnosed Le'choyne with adenocarcinoma, a rare form of cancer usually only found in adults. Tests revealed a large malignant mass growing on her liver, kidneys and stomach. It has now spread to other organs.

"In the beginning, being honest, I was just watching body language and (doctors) didn't know what they were doing," her father says. "She is the first child with it."

Her father says doctors struggled diagnosing Le'choyne, who told the family she was the first pediatric case at Beaumont they have seen. Right now she has a port in her chest where she receives chemo every few weeks, but they fear that, with the cancer at stage three, it is not enough.

"It is very hard watching your child go through losing weight, her emotions and stuff like that," Cortreal says. "She doesn’t know what to think, so you have to be strong for her. I'm good with sons but with my daughter, any father would take it real hard."

The single father of three was forced to stop working to care for his daughter and because money is tight, he needed to move in with his mother where, luckily, family is there to support them through this difficult time.

"I'm hoping for the best as far as prayer, people working, the doctors working and doing their best," he says. "The support from our family for myself, and me being able to be a good supporting dad to her."

Her father is seeking a second opinion and hopefully treatment through St. Jude Children's Research Hospital.

Until then the family has started a GoFundMe account for this little girl who has a long road ahead of her and the prognosis unknown.

"Just off of faith alone, working together," her father said. "I think it can be overcome."

If you'd like to make a donation to their GoFundMe account, you can do so online here

 

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