Kristen Sorrell may seem like any other 5-year-old girl.
She started kindergarten this month at Daves Creek Elementary School. She loves ballet, tap dancing and American Girl dolls. She's a big fan of Hannah Montana and the "High School Musical" movies.
But Kristen also is undergoing treatment to stave off the leukemia she was diagnosed with in 2007. Her mother,
Jennifer Sorrell, said Kristen's spirit is part of what's getting her through her chemotherapy.
"Her feisty little spirit I think is exactly what she needed to make this work because she's just really been tough," Sorrell said. "She's just taken it all with trust and faith and just kind of done what she was supposed to do, and praise the Lord we are almost done."
The Sorrells will be sharing their story this week as part of the eighth annual Children's Care-A-Thon benefiting the Aflac Cancer Center of Children's Healthcare of Atlanta-Scottish Rite.
The benefit broadcast began this morning on News/Talk 750 WSB Radio and runs until 6 p.m. Friday. The Sorrells are scheduled to go on the air at 9:10 a.m. Friday during the Neal Boortz show.
Sorrell said Kristen's leukemia was gone after two weeks of treatment. The family is now counting down the months to June 2009 when Kristen's chemotherapy treatments will end.
Kristen takes oral medications daily. Once a month, doctors administer treatments through a port in her chest. Every few months, her mother said, Kristen is sedated for spinal chemotherapy treatments.
Jennifer Sorrell said they wanted to participate in the broadcast to raise awareness about the facility.
She said the only place she knew of before Kristen's diagnosis was St. Jude Children's Research Hospital in Memphis, Tenn. They were relieved when their pediatrician told them Kristen could be treated locally.
"It is a journey, and it is certainly not one that anyone would ask for, but we feel very blessed to have been where we've been," she said. "These people are so good to us. I mean all of us, even Blake."
Blake Sorrell is Kristen's 10-year-old brother and a fifth-grader at Daves Creek.
"He's the sweetest big brother you ever asked for," Jennifer Sorrell said. "He walks her to class every day and goes back to get her.
"They're just in hog heaven because this is the only year they'll ever get to go to school together ... They're five years apart, so we're thankful she can be there."
Patient families from Atlanta, Cartersville, Dallas, Fayetteville, Griffin, Kennesaw, Lawrenceville, Loganville, Marietta, Sharpsburg, Smyrna and Villa Rica will share their stories during the care-a-thon.
Listeners can make donations and bid on auction items, including a new Corvette ZR-1. During bonus hours, various organizations will match donations.