Mother and daughter fight, beat cancer together

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Sarah Miller will never forget the day she learned her 2-year-old daughter Ember was diagnosed with acute lymphoblastic leukemia.

"Oh my God, my whole world flipped upside down basically changed my entire life," she said. "Lots of ups and downs where she almost lost her life she had to be airlifted to Mott one summer and they said we weren't going to bring her home."

But Ember is strong.  It was a tough couple of years, but this little girl was able to beat her aggressive blood cancer.

Her mother gave a lot of the credit to the organization 'Kids Kicking Cancer' based in Southfield. Instructors there help empower children to heal physically, spiritually and emotionally through therapeutic martial arts.

And teach them how to power breathe.

"Taught me to not be afraid by power breathing," Ember said. "It is when your breath in the light and blow out the darkness."

Which was very useful when Ember went through painful injections and procedures throughout her cancer treatment -  but also when her mom Sarah was diagnosed with breast cancer while her daughter was still battling her own illness.

"She noticed me start to cry," Sarah said. "Sorry, what did you tell me - you said 'It's okay mama I got you. You are going to help me beat my cancer just like I helped you, right?' You said 'Just do your power breathing.'" 

A powerful moment when her 3-year-old daughter became a teacher for her mother.

"I told her to power breath and to not worry," Ember said. "The good stuff and blowing out the bad stuff the worries and the bad stuff in your brain." 

Pushing away the message of pain, seeing themselves as victors, not victims are just some of the lessons taught by Kids Kicking Cancer.

The non-profit organization was founded in 1999 by a black belt father who lost a child to cancer. Since then, Kids Kicking Cancer has helped countless children like Ember take control of their disease.

"The mantra is 'power, peace, purpose' and what the kids' purpose is, is really to teach the world," said one instructor "So you will see and you will hear how our kids will teach other kids and teach their parents, classmates and others how to breathe in the light and blow out the darkness."

Ember is now in remission and her mother, who underwent chemo and had a double mastectomy is also doing well on maintenance therapy. Together they are taking control of their disease, one breath at a time.

"I am really happy because they're learning not to be worried," said Ember.

"It was eye opening to me she got it, she understood, she was three and a half," said Sarah. "She helped me calm down and she really has helped me get through every day."

Sarah and Ember have created their own foundation called Princess Ember's Sprinkle of Hope putting together baskets of necessities for families whose children have been diagnosed.

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