A Greece family is holding onto hope and praying for a miracle. Four-year-old Ashley Nagel was first diagnosed with cancer when she was 15-months old. The tumor recently returned and now this courageous child is in for the fight of her life.
Ashley Nagel is like any other pre-schooler. She loves her toys, her blankets, and her pets.
When Ashley was 15-months old, her mom says she had trouble walking. A trip to the hospital led to the diagnosis of a rare and aggressive form of a brain tumor.
"When she was first diagnosed, she did chemo and radiation," said Wendy Nagel.
And after a year of treatments, Ashley was doing much better.
"The doctors were beyond excited how well she was doing."
Last October, Ashley's walking became unsteady again, and was occasionally falling.
"We noticed in dance class that she wasn't, her balance was kind of off."
At one point, Ashley stopped walking completely. That's when the family went back to the hospital for an MRI.
"I knew what the results would be. I just knew deep down inside that the tumor had started growing again."
Ashley began chemo treatments right away.
"The tumor had grown quite a bit."
Ashley's chemo visits are every other week at Golisano Children's Hospital. Her doctor says an MRI taken earlier this week shows that the tumor was shrinking.
"You hold your breath and I had a good feeling about Ashley because she's just doing so beautifully but there 's nothing like seeing concrete evidence of that and seeing that her tumor was clearly smaller," said Dr. David Korones, oncologist.
As Ashley continues with her chemo treatments, the family welcomes pleasant distractions. The community has rallied around Ashley as friends from her preschool, her dance studio, and even complete strangers have helped support several fundraising events.
"People are still willing to give and help, especially for a little girl, it just amazes me, it truly amazes me."
Wendy and Chris Nagel hope their daughter's story will help raise awareness for childhood cancer, as some 10,000 to 15,000 children are diagnosed with cancer every year in the United States.
The couple is holding out hope that Ashley can defy the odds once again, but for now, they are making each moment count.
"We do what we have to do. We spend a lot of time."
"That Christmas miracle is what I hold onto. Cuz she's a very special little girl, huh?"