Second grade class helps 7-year-old celebrate clear cancer scan

Balloon release to honor cancer free 2nd grader
Wednesday balloon release (Source: KCBD Photo)
Wednesday balloon release (Source: KCBD Photo)
7-year-old Paxton Kirkland is celebrating some very good news (Source: Kirkland Family Photo)
7-year-old Paxton Kirkland is celebrating some very good news (Source: Kirkland Family Photo)

LUBBOCK, TX (KCBD) - September is National Childhood Cancer Awareness Month, symbolized by a golden ribbon.

More than 15,000 children in the U.S. under the age of 19 will be diagnosed with cancer this year.

Instead of gold, pink balloons filled part of the Lubbock sky on Wednesday as some local second graders released them to honor a classmate, a special event celebrating the Kirkland family's good news.

Shannon Kirkland is Paxton's mom. She said, "First in the morning, they have chapel. They brought Paxton up to the front and announced the good news, that she's cancer free."

Shannon noticed a spot on Paxton's ear back in December.

"After the first surgery, the pathology came back that she had rhabdomyosarcoma," Shannon said.

Only about 250 kids a year get this particular form of cancer in the United States. Paxton started treatments here in Lubbock and also spent two months this summer in Houston at M.D. Anderson.

"We completed 24 weeks of that treatment that included 20 rounds of chemotherapy and 28 days of radiation," Says Shannon. "we've just walked through six months of treatment."

After completing the treatment, the family went back in for a checkup.

Shannon said, "Last Thursday had scans and to check the status of whether there were any cancer cells in her body and those scans came back clear."

Paxton's' friends at school wanted to help her celebrate the good news.

Shannon said, "The second graders all got to go outside and eat a doughnut and then they all gathered round in a circle and each person got a balloon and on the count of three they all let go of their balloons and released them up into the air and watched them fly away. Because we were cancer free."

The Kirklands say they couldn't have done it without support from friends and family.

George Kirkland is Paxton's dad. He said, "From doctors to our church family and our school family, it's been really great. We've had gifts, we've had people help send us to Houston for two months, and really, it's been extra special for us to watch people step up and really be a hand of God to help us. I'm appreciative of that."

The family is encouraging others to join them at the Lubbock Pediatric Cancer Walk.

The walk is happening on Sept. 29 at Buddy Holly Fiesta Park from 9 a.m. to noon.

You can register for the walk here and get more information on the event here.

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