With three treatments down and seven more planned, 10-year-old Makanda Williams is fighting the battle for her life.
It's been nine months since Makanda was diagnosed with diffuse intrinsic pontine glioma (DIPG), a very aggressive and rare childhood brain cancer.
There is no cure, and the survival rate is about 1 percent. Makanda has already reached the median survival benchmark of nine months.
"Her only hope to beat this is the treatment being offered in Monterrey, Mexico," said Makanda's mom, Sarah Carlton.
Those treatments cost around $250,000, none of which is covered by insurance. The family is traveling monthly to Mexico.
"Without the continued help of the community and beyond, friends and strangers, we would not be able to keep her in this promising treatment," Carlton said. "I feel confident in saying that she would not be doing well if we didn't have her in treatment now."
Makanda has a team of warriors behind her to help raise the needed funds. The next fundraiser is planned for noon to 4 p.m. Feb. 25 at the Benton Eagles.
This event will feature a barbecue luncheon and silent auction. The auction items include guided fishing trips, a full year of salon services, car detailing, a home insulation package, hotel stays, and Cardinals/Cubs tickets. There are also activities planned including face painting and other kid-oriented fun.
Carlton described her daughter as "unbelievably brave, beautiful, compassionate and strong," and she continues to be amazed at the outpouring of support.
"I am a mother fighting to keep my child alive," she said.
For more information about Makanda's fight or to donate, visit her Facebook page, #makandastrong. Makanda has a medical fund at the State Bank of Whittington.