Abri Bentley came to her parents with leg pain but they, together with doctors, put it down to growing pains and said it would go away. When it continued, they never expected the shocking truth that was revealed to them. When Abri Bentley woke up in the middle of the night due to experiencing excruciating leg pains, her mother immediately panicked after seeing her daughter in such great pain. She knew she needed to take Abri for medical attention immediately.
A Normal Young Girl
Abri lived in Scottsdale, Arizona together with her mom Nikkole, her father, Rod and her two sisters Ashlyn and Ariya. They had a very close family and they would regularly participate in activities altogether. Abri was particularly close with her two sisters and they would look out for each other all the time. Abri was known as a sweet young girl who had a passion for dancing, it was all she ever wanted to do.
Abri often spoke about her passion for dancing and her aspirations to do it professionally. She loved to perform in front of big crowds and spoke of how she was accustomed to this from a young age. She said “I always danced when I was little”. Moreover, little Abri was incredibly active and she showed no signs of slowing down. For this reason, the next couple of events which unfolded shocked everyone as they never saw it coming.
One night, Abri felt a sudden pain in her leg and told her parents about it. However, being a dancer and a young one at that, it was extremely common to have growing pains as a result of her age and physical activity. For this reason, her parents did not think much of it and told her to go back to sleep and that it should be better in time. However, Abri regularly had growing pains and this time, it felt different.
After Abri’s parents put her back to sleep, she kept trying to fall back to sleep, despite the excruciating pain she was in. However, it all became too much for her and no matter how hard she tried, she couldn’t stop the pain. At this point, Abri’s parents decided they needed to do something. They could not watch their little girl hysterically crying because she was in so much pain. They then decided to take her for some medical assistance.
Abri’s parents took her to the emergency room and immediately informed doctors of what was happening to their child. The doctors could see that she was in pain and took her for examinations to try and get to the bottom of the problem. After having assessments, the doctor’s simply told Nikkole and Rod that their daughter was just suffering from growing pains and it was nothing to worry about. Her parents had to accept the diagnosis and took their daughter home.
Something’s Not Right
When Nikkole and Rod took Abri home, they tried to assure her that there was nothing wrong and the pain would subside soon enough. However, this didn’t happen, and Abri continued to scream over the pain she going through. Watching their daughter in such agony was tough to watch and they felt that something was not right. How could there be nothing wrong with her? Her parents decided to go and look for new answers.
A Second Opinion
Nikkole and Rod then got in touch with a specialist at the Phoenix Children’s Hospital, hoping they could shed some light on the situation. After hearing the situation and the previous diagnosis, the specialists decided to do some tests of their own. After numerous different tests, assessing Abri’s blood and undertaking a biopsy of the girl, there was some shocking news to give to the Bentleys. The new diagnosis could not have been expected by anyone.
Life Changing Results
The specialists at the Phoenix Children’s Hospital decided to bring Abri and her parents in for the prognosis. Anxiously awaiting the results, the Bentleys prayed it was something minor. However, the doctors then revealed that Abri had been diagnosed with an aggressive type of bone cancer known as Ewing’s Sarcoma. When the Bentleys heard the news from the doctors, they were absolutely shocked and devastated that this was happening to their little girl.
The bone cancer, Ewing’s Sarcoma is a very rare type of cancer but it is most commonly found in children and young people. The cancer cells are usually found in the bone or the soft tissue but it is often difficult to classify, which is why Abri was initially given the wrong diagnosis. In the United States, around 200 young people will find themselves diagnosed with the disease. However, in many cases, it is curable as long as the tumor does not spread.
With Ewings Sarcoma, there are a number of ways the disease can be fought. If the tumor doesn’t spread to other areas, it can be removed via surgery, or if there is an entirely affected area, doctors may opt to amputate the affected area. Moreover, the more common and traditional methods of cancer treatments including chemotherapy and radiation therapy may be used to battle the cells inside the body. The doctors had to weigh the best option for Abri.
After speaking through the process with Abri and her parents, the doctors said that the young girl would need a couple different rounds of chemotherapy to battle the cancer cells. The whole idea was incredibly difficult for children of a young age who don’t understand what is happening to them but they know they are in excruciating pain. Speaking about the cancer therapy, Abri stated, “They said I was going to lose my hair. They said I might get my leg off.”
Abri took everything in her stride and cooperated with the doctors on everything they told her she would need to endure to keep her alive. Abri was a fighter and took each day as it came, never giving up no matter how tough her treatment was to get through. Having her family by her side during every step made it that much better but her parents put on a strong front as they really struggled watching their little girl suffering.
Her parents stated “We can never forget the horror of watching our little girl become skin and bones with gray skin and black and blue eyes,” Nikkole continued “Holding her while she cried as her beautiful, long, golden hair fell out in clumps on the floor. Our ears can never forget the screams while she begged us to help every time the needle was shoved into her chest at the beginning of every treatment and with every blood draw.”
It Wasn’t Over
Abri was so incredibly strong in every step of the way. She would count down the days until her chemo was over and the light at the end of the tunnel kept her going. However, there was a big setback when Abri was told that despite the fact that her tumor was gone, it had left her with a big hole in her leg. For this reason, the doctors were given no choice but to remove it altogether.
A New Leg
Due to the medical advances in the present day, surgeons came up with an innovative creation for little Abri to ensure that she did not lose her leg altogether and have to rely on prosthetics. The surgeons decided to create Abri a new leg made from a donated arm bone which they would turn into a tibia. Never one to let her spirits go, Abri called the creation her “arg”, through joining the words “arm” and “leg”.
A New Life
Following the chemotherapy and the creation of her new “arg”, Abri had to adapt to her new life after her debilitating disease. She had to learn to walk all over again but the progress she was making was incredible and everyone was in awe of the young girl. Perhaps her ability to learn to walk so quickly stemmed from the fact she was used to being quick on her feet due to her background as a dancer.
A Helping Hand
Although Abri had many of her own hurdles to overcome, she decided that she wanted to achieve more. After speaking to others and deciding what she could do, she chose to help others who were in a similar position. So, together with her mom, Nikkole, she began to visit other families who had children battling cancer. While giving them support and a listening ear, Abri soon discovered she was a natural at helping others, something she loved to do.
Abri’s altruism attracted the attention of so many young people going through problems like hers. She now strives to raise awareness of children’s cancers and her and her family have the overall goal to attract the attention of the government, so they can receive bigger funds for treatment and support, in an attempt to get a greater outreach to kid’s all over America. Her work for other children is admirable and has been recognized by so many.
Spreading The Word
Abri’s mom, Nikkole said “I just want people to know about childhood cancer, period, it’s not going away if people aren’t willing to talk about it.” Abri continued, “The adults, they get all the money, and when they get all the money, they get to live. The kids don’t get the money – they don’t get to be a grown-up, so it’s not that fair.” The passionate young girl clearly wanted to help everyone who wasn’t given the same treatment as her.
Abri knew that her outreach could only be so big so she started thinking bigger of how she could get the word out. She wanted to have a video where she could explain her story and tell other’s how they should help. By targeting the U.S government and the President in particular, Abri though they could help her raise the money to help other kids suffering from cancer. It was time to call the President of the United States, Donald Trump.
Calling Out Trump
Abri starred in the video in an attempt to raise awareness about her work for other kids diagnosed with cancer. In a harmless and funny jibe at the President, she said “Congratulations, you beat the odds. Please help us beat the odds against childhood cancer, too.” The words coming from little Abri were so poignant and tweak at the heartstrings. Watching a child suffer from cancer is heartbreaking and is something that President Donald Trump could not ignore.
In the incredibly emotional video, Abri stood up and was defiant in her words, showing compassion and a fighting spirit against a disease that couldn’t take her. She asserted “Some of us die from the effects of chemo. It’s just too much for our little bodies — it’s just not okay.” Anyone would feel emotional at the words coming out of her mouth. It is awful to see anyone suffering and to see someone so young struggling is even worse.
Since posting her video, Abri had a Facebook account set up to raise awareness of her story and how to help other just like her. Going under the user “Team Abri”, the Facebook account tells her story and posts other stories of kids in similar situations. So far, Abri’s page has gained over 12,600 followers and counting. The use of social media hopes to heighten the awareness about Abri and how cancer in kids should not be ignored or overlooked.
A Huge Setback
After all the progress Abri made, in 2017, she received some devastating news that her cancer had returned. Everyone was beside themselves for the little girl who had shown so much strength and courage in the past. When the doctors returned to tell them the news of how bad it was, it appeared they caught it very early and it was only within her “arg”. Abri had to fight all over again but she always remained in high spirits.
After a couple rounds of chemotherapy, Abri was exhausted and in much pain. However, there were some good news that came after her bone marrow results came back clear! However, she had to undergo more chemotherapy but before she did, she indulged in lots of her favorite, sushi! Nikkole wrote “Her mood is great and her pain is basically gone. This kid just amazes me! She is taking on this next battle with even more strength and positive attitude than before.”
The Battle Continues
Cancer is a terrible disease and Abri had to continue with chemotherapy to keep it away. In the whole ordeal, her spirits were never dampened, and she always put on a brave face and went strong into fighting it. She is strong for her family, she is strong for other cancer patients and most of all, she is strong for herself. Abri is a credit to young kids and a beautiful soul. She will continue to fight against cancer and definitely won’t let it win.