The day before her 8th birthday, Carson Elizabeth had a doctor's appointment to see what was causing her to have so much knee pain and that day, her life changed forever.

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Carson’s diagnosis was one that nobody wanted to hear. Carson had osteosarcoma, a type of bone cancer.

The general survival rate for osteosarcoma is 74 percent, however, if cancer has spread outside of the bones and into other tissue or organs, the survival rate drops to 66 percent.

Carson’s doctor had studied at St. Jude and as soon as he saw her MRI, he knew they needed to act fact. Placing a few calls, Carson’s doctor got her into St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital the very next day, March 8, 2014.

It was discovered that Carson had a tumor above her knee that was the size of a grapefruit and so, for the next 16 months, Carson received treatment at St. Jude, including 36 rounds of chemotherapy treatment. Still, even with chemo, Carson’s tumor continued to grow in size every 21 days.

Through it all, St. Jude never gave up the fight to save Carson. Even when there was nothing more that could be done and she was placed in hospice, St. Jude still fought to save her.

Carson never gave up hope and even though her future was bleak, she wanted to fight for herself and the other kids under the care of St. Jude so she walked around the hospital shaking coins from every person she saw to put in her piggy bank so she could give it back to St. Jude.

Just before she died, Carson told her parents, “I’m going to have a tea party with Jesus soon. I want you to promise me that all the money in my piggy bank will go to St. Jude when I’m gone."

Two days later, Carson died and the $128.56 in her piggy bank, every cent she raised, was given to St. Jude.

SEE ALSO: How to Get Your Own St. Jude 'This Shirt Saves Lives' T-Shirt

Carson’s classmates were so moved that they began to raise money in honor of Carson for St. Jude. Every year since she died, Carson’s school has done piggy banks for Carson.

Carson would have turned 16 in March of 2023 and to date, $160,000 has been raised and donated to St. Jude. Carson’s family has a goal to raise and donate a million dollars in honor of their little girl by the time she would have turned 18.

Paula Head, mom of Carson now works for St. Jude as the Senior Director of Patient Family Outreach, a job she took a year and a half after Carson died so that she could continue to honor her daughter and help other families with children being cared for by St. Jude.

As the mother of a St. Jude patient, Paula has a message for anyone considering donating, “Your donation really does make a difference. You are touching lives whether you donate $1 or a million.

When you donate to St. Jude, you're giving families hope, and for children who, like Carson, don’t make it, you’re giving families a bit more time with their children.

Four More Things St. Jude Offers Patients and Families for FREE

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