TUSKEGEE-It started with Franny’s neck swelling. “They kept saying it was just her glands,” said her grandmother, Annie. But soon, 15-year-old Franny was complaining of back pain and trouble walking. Doctors thought it might be a slipped disk from carrying a lot of schoolbooks, but it seemed like it was something more than that to her grandmother. “I got a call from her school telling me to come get her because she had fallen 2 or 3 times and couldn’t walk,” Annie said. “ I took her straight to the doctor for more tests.” Within days, Franny had undergone surgery to have a tumor removed from her spine. Immediately she started chemotherapy to try to prevent the spread of what they had now diagnosed as non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma.
Franny absolutely loves school and is a wonderful student, but the chemo she must receive every three weeks makes her very sick and causes her to miss a lot of classes. So when Wish Coordinator TJ Whitlock of Kids Wish Network was contacted about this determined young woman, she quickly jumped into action and made Franny’s wish of owning a computer a dream come true. Not only did Kids Wish Network give her a computer, she also received a printer and Internet access for an entire year. “I love it,” Franny said. “I hooked it up as soon as I got it. I already had to type up some stuff for school and print it out.” Her grandmother said she will probably be out of school quite a bit, so now she can keep up with the help of her new system.
Besides school, Franny also likes playing arcade games with her friends at the mall and her favorite hobby is like most teenagers, talking on the phone. Now, no matter how she feels, she can play games on her own computer at home and she can even email her friends to keep in constant contact. “I like to email my friends, but I do still like the phone,” Franny said giggling.
“She has really and truly been upbeat through everything that has happened,” said Annie of her granddaughter. “She is a beautiful girl with a beautiful personality.” Annie believes that the support of Franny’s friends has helped to keep her spirits up. “They come over when she’s not feeling that well, they keep her company and spend the night with her,” she said.
“She has been in remission about a month,” said Annie. “The doctors feel very hopeful that they got it all. I thank God that we had a good doctor.” However uncertain Franny’s future may be, she keeps a positive attitude and doesn’t want to stop moving forward. And now with her new computer, not only can she keep up with her studies, but she can also keep up with her friends and hobbies, and try to focus on just being a teenager.
Kids Wish Network is a nationally recognized non-profit organization whose mission is to grant wishes to children who have life-threatening illnesses. If you know a child between the ages of 3 and 18 who may be in need of their wish granting services, please call (813) 891-9374 or toll free at (888) 918-9004. You can also visit its web site at www.kidswishnetwork.org.