ROYAL OAK, Mich. (WJBK) - She's barely two years old, but Leah LaCroix is already fighting cancer for the second time in her life. Now, friends are hoping to raise thousands for her growing family to help get her through treatment.
Leah was first been diagnosed with AML, a form of Leukemia, at 10 months old. She was treated and eventually went into remission.
This summer, they celebrated one year being cancer free - and also celebrated the fact that Leah is now going to be a big sister for the first time in October!
But then, just a few days ago, they got some sad news. Her cancer is back.
"Less than a week ago, my daughter was the flower girl in my best friend's wedding and to hear, three days later, she had relapsed was really challenging," says her mom, Katie.
"I don't think people realize how many kids are diagnosed a day, and there's so many of us battling this. It's heart wrenching to think people who hardships are greater than ours because of childhood cancer," her dad, Drew, says.
Leah is being treated at Beaumont in Royal Oak.
"It's challenging to explain it to a two year old. We try to keep it as honest as we possibly can, but also coat it as much as we can, too. So, telling her, 'They're all here because they love you want to take care of you; they want to keep you healthy and safe.' We just keep reminding her of those things," Katie says.
These are circumstances that are difficult for any family to handle.
"She loves to call her younger sibling Donald Duck. So she is convinced that Donald Duck will be here soon," Katie says. "We're trying to keep a smile on her face with those kinds of things and keep her spirits up and keep our spirits up, too."
For now, the goal is to get the cancer to go back into remission and find a bone marrow transplant match for Leah.
Meanwhile, a close family friend called FOX 2 after starting a GoFundMe account for the LaCroix family.
"It's not easy to ask for help a second time. It wasn't easy the first time," says Drew. "There's a lot of swallowing your pride and getting past that. The bottom line is we do need support right now and we feel very blessed to have the community that we have behind us."
Drew and Katie are public school teachers and are now having to take a lot of time off work while preparing themselves for the tough fight.
"You don't have a choice. People ask you how are you this strong, and there is no answer. We don't have a choice," Katie says.