2015 was a year of shocking news for 15-year-old Aliyah. First, the pain in her knee she thought was a sprain turned out to be cancer – osteosarcoma. Then the day she had her port surgically implanted so that she could start chemo, her grandfather died unexpectedly. Then, when doctors tried to remove her tumor surgically, they discovered that her leg could not be saved. “Life or limb,” they told her mother. When Aliyah woke up from surgery, her left leg was gone. And so was her spirit.
Enter Team Summer kid Katelyn! She knows all about having a hard time. She lost her sight and her ability to walk while battling a brain tumor. So it was not surprising that she chose Aliyah to give a Team Summer gift to!
Team Summer kid Kayla (standing in the picture below) helped with the surprise!
Aliyah’s mother told us that she had been searching for some way to motivate her daughter to get up and walk on her prosthetic leg. And we found out that Aliyah had been begging her mother for a dog. So with her mom’s permission, we put two and two together and came up with four pounds of puppy!
Aliyah told us later that as she realized she was getting a gift, all she could think was, “I hope it’s a puppy! I hope it’s a puppy!” She said a puppy was the only thing in the whole world she wanted.
Katelyn got to hold the puppy, too. She could not see him, but she sure could feel him!
And it looks like little Chewy (that’s the name Aliyah gave the puppy because of his propensity to chew everything!) has made all the difference. Before Chewy, Aliyah rarely put on her prosthetic leg to practice walking. Now she puts her leg on every day so she can take care of Chewy. “I have a reason to get out of bed,” Aliyah told us. She’s even starting to think about her future. Her dream is to be a prosthetic engineer so she can help other kids who have lost limbs.
And listen to this: When Aliyah learned that it was now her turn to give a gift, she knew exactly who she wanted to help. She told us about a little boy she could hear crying through the walls of the hospital room next to hers. She’s excited that she now has a way to help cheer him up – kid to kid. Aliyah, we are so on it!
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