A nine-year-old Starke County girl is staying strong as she battles one of the biggest fights of her life. Korie Howard was diagnosed in October with osteosarcoma, a form of bone cancer to her right lower femur after her mother, Amber Howard, took her to the emergency room because she was limping and suffering from knee pain.
An x-ray was performed at the hospital which found something that Amber said looked “off”- either a mass or an infection, and they were referred to a specialist at Riley’s Children’s Hospital. There, an MRI was performed, followed immediately by a biopsy. Howard said the specialist knew immediately what her daughter was suffering from, and the long fight she had in her future, but the results didn’t come in for another seven days.
“It was not what I expected; definitely not something that you would think your own child would have to go through,” said Howard.
Korie underwent her first chemotherapy session on Nov. 20, and Amber said she was sick for about a week, lost a significant amount of weight and dealt with nausea and a lack of appetite. Fortunately, Amber said Korie is now feeling better, despite her blood count dropping by about half from Monday. She’s still in the safe zone, Amber said, and Korie is still able to go to school as long as she practices safe hygiene.
Amber said it’s still hard to go through for both of them, but they’re staying positive.
“Right now, it’s just the fact that she has the cancer; it’s scary. I mean, her chances are really good because it has not metastasized to her lungs or anywhere else, so with chemo and some surgery and more chemo, it’s curable and most people that do have this type of cancer that go through the chemo and surgery and its localized do well, from what I was told,” said Howard.
The community support has been overwhelming, Amber said. Korie is an active student at school, as she sits on student council and has participated in a number of sports, and it seems like everyone the young girl has interacted with has come out of the woodwork to show their support.
“Korie was involved in a lot of things, sport-wise. She did fast-pitch softball for two years, basketball, so a lot of people who were involved with her softball team and her basketball team have came forward and they’ve been supportive, and just everybody, pretty much – there’s been so many people that have been supportive.”
A benefit is being held for Korie today at 5 p.m. CT at the Bass Lake–California Township Fire Department, located at 7225 S. U.S. 35. in Knox. The money from the benefit will go toward covering travel expenses back and forth to Riley’s Hospital and medical expenses. Amber said she is applying for help other than her private insurance, and what she can’t afford to pay, these proceeds will help immensely.
The benefit will feature a potluck dinner for $10 for adults, $7 for children 10 and under, and free food for children younger than 2. A live band will perform, a live auction will be held, and a 50-50 raffle will also take place, along with a bake sale, pictures with Santa, and bracelets and t-shirts will be available to purchase. Come to the fire department today and show your support for Korie Howard, a brave young girl fighting the battle of her life.