Local teen, family share personal cancer journey to promote childhood cancer awareness

By Stephanie Santostasi

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    ASHEVILLE, North Carolina (WLOS) — September is Childhood Cancer Awareness month.

It was created to raise awareness about childhood cancer, which remains the leading cause of death by disease for children under the age of 14.

The color gold and the gold ribbon are symbols of support for children affected with cancer.

It is a color with which Marett Bandy is very familiar. She was diagnosed with childhood leukemia on Sept. 23, 2018.

She spent almost three years total receiving treatment at the Mission Children’s Cancer Center.

“I would sing their praises to anyone that would listen,” said Chad Bandy, Marett’s father.

Fast forward a few years, Marett is now in eighth grade, a volleyball star at Hendersonville Middle — and in remission.

She still meets with her doctor, Doug Scothorn, regularly for checkups.

With September being Childhood Cancer Awareness month, Marett and Dr. Scothorn want to bring to light how far treating the disease has come and what people need to know about it.

“Within my lifetime, when I was going through training, most children with cancer died,” said Dr. Scothorn. “Now, we’re to the point where more than 80% of kids who have cancer are going to be long-term survivors, and that is because of efforts like childhood cancer awareness month to raise money for developments and research treatments.”

However, Scothorn said there’s still a long way to go, and there are still some childhood cancers in which most kids don’t survive.

Marett’s dad, Chad, feels thankful his daughter’s treatment worked.

“Cancer’s terrible, and you know what — no kid should ever have to go through what she did, but she came out on the back end of it,” said Bandy. “And that’s thanks to these folks.”

Marett told News 13 she is now looking forward to high school next year.

To find out more about Mission’s pediatric cancer care, visit: missionhealth.org/services-treatments/pediatrics/cancer-care

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