Adyn Weatherly has been participating in Relay for Life with her mom, Tonda Wheaton, and her sister, Jordan Weatherly, for a couple of years now.
But little did the family know they would soon be fighting their own battle with cancer.
Ayden, who is 9 years old now, was diagnosed with Diffuse Intrinsic Pontine Glioma in May 2016 and was on hand Thursday night at the Dallas County Relay for Life kickoff at Wallace Community College Selma.
“My kids, Jordan and Adyn, always came to help out [with Relay]. They would do the walks, help with fundraising, anything that our team needed, they would assist us,” Wheaton said. “Little did I know that I was going to be a recipient of these same funds.”
Adyn and her mom spent six weeks at the Ronald McDonald House while she was getting chemotherapy and radiation in Birmingham over the summer.
“I actually saw those funds used from these people. We had to be taken care of through the American Cancer Society for six weeks. We lived for free at the Ronald McDonald House,” Wheaton said. “It was a home away from home.”
Adyn is currently undergoing a trial treatment for her inoperable brain tumor, but her mom said she can see progress with the size of the tumor going down from golf ball size to dime size.
Wheaton said the journey has been up and down.
“This has been difficult, but it has been easy at the same time. It’s difficult because it’s new to us. If your child goes from being healthy and active to being dependent of everybody, that’s different for the whole family,” Wheaton said. “It’s been easy because we had a great support system. Bridget Mills with the American Cancer Society, people that assist her, that’s what made it easy. I couldn’t have done this by myself.”
Adyn said she has participated in Relay before because she knew she was helping people, and her stance hasn’t changed. This year, she even started her own team, Team Adyn.
“I decided to have a team because knowing that I’m going through this, tomorrow someone else might be going through this,” Adyn said. “If I have my own team I’ll be showing support to the person that’s going through it and I want to help them the best way I can because I know that I needed help and they are going to need help too.”
Over the summer, Adyn was in a wheelchair due to the cancer and needed help from her family to do everyday tasks. That’s where her sister, Jordan came in.
“It’s hard. It’s sad to see her in this position,” 11-year-old Jordan said. “I actually enjoy being with her and I didn’t expect having to take care of her. I miss the Adyn that we would act silly and run around and play together.”
Wheaton said she hopes hearing about Adyn will inspire people to give to the American cancer Society, so more children and adults will have the funds necessary to help with treatments.
“I just want the people of Dallas County and surrounding counties and out there period, to know you know where you are today, but you don’t know where you’ll be tomorrow,” Wheaton said. “If you can help in any way possible, whether it’s $1, $2, $10, however you can help, it’s a worthy cause.”
A survivor’s banquet will be held May 22 at the Carl C. Morgan Convention Center and the Relay for Life walk will be held June 2 at Lions Fair Park.
Alvin Craig, event lead, said they are still looking for more teams. Teams and individuals can learn more and sign up for the Relay for Life of Dallas County by visiting http://www.relayforlife.org/dallasal or by contacting Craig at (334) 538-0771.