Like Coach Hatchell, Triad Families Battle Leukemia

5:02 PM, Oct 15, 2013   |    comments
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GREENSBORO, N.C. - Doctors diagnosed UNC basketball coach Sylvia Hatchell with Leukemia this week. It's a form of blood cancer that will strike more than 1400 people in North Carolina this year.

Every ten minutes, an American dies from a blood cancer. The median age someone gets diagnosed is 66-years-old. Coach Hatchell is in her 60s. However, Leukemia is one of the most common forms of cancer in children.

At the age of four, doctors diagnosed Karson Dickens with Leukemia. She went through twenty spinal taps and twenty-seven months of treatment.

"Someone told me God will never give you something you can't handle. Ironically, that April, she was diagnosed with Leukemia. My heart sank," Karin Dickens, Karson's mother, said. "There were a lot of tears. A lot of shock. We relied on friends, family and God."

Karson's father, Jason Dickens, said, "It took Karson about six months before she lost her hair. She had long, straight blond hair. When she lost her hair, that's when it really hit me...It helps you respect every single day. Every day is a blessing."

Karson has been in remission for two years now. Her parents created this video about her journey.

"She's wise beyond her years. She's seen a lot. She's been through a lot. But, she's a strong little girl," Karin Dickens said. "

Dickens will walk this weekend with supporters across our area to raise money for Leukemia research.

"Blood cancer is one of the cancers that there is no early detection for...there is no prevention for it. It often masks itself as appearing as other diseases or illnesses," Leukemia and Lymphoma Society Campaign Specialist Kristi McCord said. Doctors diagnosed her son, Collin McCord, with Leukemia when he was just 15-months old.

"It's devastating. It's fear. You don't know. You can't understand. You can't put your head around that a child is having to endure this," McCord said. Collin is now cancer-free. He's 17-years-old.

The annual "Light the Night Walk" for cancer is at Country Park in Greensboro on Saturday, October 19. You can register online. The Leukemia and Lymphoma Society also has a lot of resources and information posted online.

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