Few might guess that Mollie King, an active pre-K pupil, was diagnosed with lymphoblastic leukemia less than a year ago.
"It is absolutely your worst nightmare," Mollie's mother, Sarah, said of the 5-year-old's diagnosis.
Mollie, who has been treated at the Medical College of Georgia Children's Medical Center, is one of several patients, donors and staff who will be featured in the Children's Miracle Network Celebration on May 31. The 24th annual telethon, which will be broadcast live on NBC from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m., is designed to raise funds for the region's only pediatric hospital.
"It is excellent," King said of her family's yearlong experience at the center. "We have friends all over at different hospitals. ... I hear stories about them having to share rooms and not being able to get beds for a couple of days. That doesn't happen here. We've been glad to be here."
King said she and her husband, Matt, took turns spending time with Mollie in the hospital and caring for their 18-month-old daughter, Lucy.
"I like the child life specialist," said Mollie, who also has a favorite nurse. King said the child life specialist is the person who comes around with games and toys.
Mollie, who didn't start pre-K until January because of her intensive treatments, spent two weeks in the hospital initially.
"She was in remission by the seventh day," King said.
Mollie still must endure a regular onslaught of needle pricks and side effects from her chemotherapy. Nausea is one of the symptoms that remained after she went from intensive to maintenance therapy, which includes monthly clinic visits, steroid injections and mild daily chemotherapy.
But Mollie, who King said enjoys dressing up and playing make-believe, handles it all like a trooper.
She enjoys the attention she gets from being involved with fundraisers for the medical center, and she's especially excited about being on television during the telethon.
All funds raised at the event go to the medical center, said Denise Parrish, MCGHealth's media relations manager.
"Last year's (telethon) resulted in nearly $925,000 in donations and pledges," she said.
In the months since Mollie has been on maintenance therapy, many of the side effects from the medications have dissipated, bringing the active child back to her old self, King said.
She's excited to be growing her hair back and is looking forward to riding the school bus to kindergarten in the fall.
Though Mollie must endure more treatments and checkups, King said the chance of her cancer being cured is 90 percent to 95 percent.
"Sept. 3 is the date," she said. "That's when her last chemo treatment is scheduled."
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