Faith, Not Confidence, Encourages Young Cancer Patient

Post a Comment » Written on July 25th, 2007     
Filed under: News
By Stan Friedman

STILLWATER, MN (July 25, 2007) – Eight-year-old Amanda Daniels began her fourth round of chemotherapy at Children’s Hospital in St. Paul on Tuesday afternoon, several hours after the appointed time. Her mother, Jacqueline, was frustrated. The process takes three days, but the sooner it starts, the sooner the patient can go home.

Amanda wasn’t fazed, however. “What difference does it make? I’m going to be here anyway,” the girl told her mom and went back to playing.

“She’s always been like that. She’s amazing,” says her grandmother, Sue Daniels.

AmandaThe entire family attends Bethany Covenant Church. Amanda, who has been active in the congregation’s children’s programs, inspires the people around her. She also typifies the faith of a family that has suffered its share of tragedy.

Tragic times began with Sue’s 57-year-old husband, who she says had suffered from post-traumatic stress disorder since he returned from Vietnam. In January, he barged into his house and ran upstairs, where he held Amanda’s twin sister, Ashley, at knifepoint. He was killed by police after he refused to release her.

Then, just months later, doctors diagnosed Amanda with Stage IV Ewings sarcoma, a rare form of bone cancer.

Jacqueline had taken Amanda to see a doctor when the girl complained that her back hurt. Her mother was concerned because Amanda never complains about anything.

Amanda has dealt with the cancer and the chemotherapy – she is receiving double doses — with determination. As doctors explained test results to her family, Amanda looked at them and asked, “Why are you looking so sad? I’m going to be OK.”

Amanda’s faith is more than confidence, says Sue, noting how her granddaughter adapted dialogue from the movie, “The Miracle of the Cards.” The film tells the story of a young cancer patient who receives get-well cards from around the world. At one point in the film, Sue says, the boy declares, “I am master of my body” and that all the cancer in his body will be gone.

On one particular day, Amanda’s white blood cell count was near zero and she was feeling too weak for almost any activity. Sue suggested she rest. Then Amanda, recalling the line from the film (which she had watched several times), made her own declaration: “God is the master of my body, and all bad things in my body are going to be gone.” She then went outside to play.

“I thought it was amazing that she would change ‘I am master of my body’ to ‘God is master of my body,’ ” Sue says. Yet she is not surprised by Amanda’s tenacity. “I have 10 grandchildren and she’s the livest wire of all of them,” Sue says.

Sue praises the church for the way they have cared for the family through all of the tragedies. “They have been our rock,” she says. One woman in the congregation sends a card to Amanda every day.

On Friday, Bethany will hold a garage sale to help raise money for the family, whose medical bills have rapidly surpassed several hundred thousand dollars. It is the second fund-raising sale event in a week.

Last Friday, the congregation raised $2,000 in a garage sale, but had to schedule the one this week because so many people from the community had donated, says Gayle Peters, who has organized the project. “Items lined the entrance and halls, two fellowship halls and spilled outside onto the yard.” She adds, “There is a semi-truck load of items left.”

Anyone wanting to contribute to the family can send checks in care of the church at 6490 Stillwater Blvd. Stillwater, MN, 55082. For more information, call the church at 651-439-9449.

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