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Ferndale girl continues to battle brain cancer
By: Melanie Gillespie and WJAC Web Staff
PITTSBURGH -- A young girl from Cambria County is in the fight for her life and has been so for nearly 18 months.
Amber Mardis, 12, of Ferndale, was diagnosed with a grade four brain tumor in 2012, and has been fighting ever since.
"My mom says I've grown up a lot... [I] just became way more mature," Amber said.
When she's away from home and at Children's Hospital of UPMC of Pittsburgh, Amber likes to sit in the sunroom on the hospital's ninth floor and watch the sun set across the Pittsburgh skyline.
"I've had three brain surgeries and lots of MRIs," Amber said.
Amber's mom, Melanie Mardis, said her daughter is still acting like a regular kid.
"She's still doing everything she normally would," Melanie said. "She's a healthy kid besides the brain cancer."
Amber said she'd like to return to a normal life and be back in school with friends and classmates.
"She wants to be in dance, do ice skating, do all the things she did before and now it's unpredictable," Melanie said.
Amber had her first surgery in July 2012 to remove her first tumor. Since then, there have been three more surgeries, with rounds of chemotherapy and radiation.
Despite the surgeries and treatments, the tumor has returned.
"They decided they can't remove this one due to just having two surgeries so close together." Melanie said. It wouldn't be safe to do it, so they're doing 15 rounds of radiation treatments."
Despite that, the fight in this girl appears to be stronger than ever. Amber is now homeschooled, but the support from family and friends is unwavering.
As her fight battle against brain cancer continues, Amber continues to remind herself of one thing, to still be a kid.
"Now it's reality and I think we've all accepted it's happening, and we just need light at the end of the tunnel," Melanie said.
The family is accepting donations to help Amber with medical costs. You can contact her family through her Facebook page: Hope for Amber.
You can also reach them by mail:
P.O. Box 31
Mineral Point, 15942