POINT PLEASANT — Words have power and one particular word turned a family’s world upside down last year - leukemia.
This past November, seven-year old Aubra (Aubie) Smith, woke up with a stiff neck and the following day a knot appeared on her neck accompanied by a high fever. One CBC blood panel later and Aubie’s life changed.
According to her mother Leah (Mahone) Smith, Aubie was then flown to Cabell Huntington Hospital and that’s when the doctor said the words no one thinks they will ever hear about their child.
“He said he would have to perform a bone marrow biopsy to confirm what he was sure she had, cancer,” Leah said. “You hear that word so many times but when he said it about my daughter it was like a word I had never heard, denial set in right away for me. Darin (her husband), the strong one through all of this, would be the rock I needed to tell me she was going to beat it.”
Aubie is currently in remission though it’s still a long road ahead with her recently starting her maintenance phase. The doctors at Nationwide Children’s Hospital in Columbus, Ohio predict she will finish treatments on Jan. 31, 2014.
“We look forward to this day,” Leah said.
Obviously, the costs associated with treating a child who has leukemia are astronomical - from medical expenses, to travel expenses. For this reason, friends of Aubie’s family have organized two upcoming softball tournaments to help with some of these costs. The first tournament will be held on Aug. 11 and the second on Aug. 25, both at Harmon Park. The tournament on Aug. 11 is a men’s tournament while the one on Aug. 25 is a coed tournament. The registration fee is $125 per team. For more information on the tournament or to sign up, call Ashley Cossin at 304-812-7190 or Scott Justus at 304-812-5117.
The theme to the tournaments is “Strike Out Leukemia.” A fund has also been set up for Aubie with donations being accepted for her at any Ohio Valley Bank location.
Though Aubie and her family live in Bidwell, Ohio, they have ties to Point Pleasant with Leah being from Mason County and Darin working at Pleasant Valley Hospital’s Wellness Center. Aubie will be going into second grade at Addaville Elementary. She has an older sister, Kenzie and a younger brother, Jansyn. They too had their worlds turned upside down but have remained by their sister’s side through the good and the bad, according to Leah.
“We thank God everyday for blessing us with family, friends and a community that love and care not only for Aubie but for our entire family,” Leah said. “Aubie has a tough, long battle ahead of her but we all should remember this, ‘Aubie may have cancer, but cancer does not have Aubie.’ We will remain ‘Aubie Strong.’”