5-year-old girl with special needs, terminal cancer diagnosis beating the survival odds

Doctors gave her a year to live in 2019. Two years later, she’s still fighting.
5-year-old with special needs diagnosed with terminal cancer is beating the odds
Published: Jul. 14, 2021 at 10:35 PM EDT
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SHARONVILLE, Ohio (WXIX) - Two years after getting a terminal cancer diagnosis, a girl with special needs is beating the odds one day at a time.

Family members say Reese Blankenship, 5, was born prematurely and was abused by biological family members before she was adopted by Chrystie and Danny Blankenship.

Reese is unable to speak, struggles to walk and cannot see.

“People say to me, ‘She’s so blessed to have you.’ And that’s not the case. We’re so blessed to have her,” Chrystie said. “I don’t think that she knows anything other than fighting.”

Chrystie says Reese was diagnosed in 2019 with DIPG which is a form of stage-four terminal brain cancer. Doctors gave her nine to 12 months to live.

After undergoing radiation treatments, Reese is still fighting. In fact, Chrystie said Reese had a scan on Wednesday that showed her tumor is stable.

“I believe that God has given Reese a second chance at life to have the love that she didn’t get at the beginning,” Chrystie said.

“The Cure Starts Now” Foundation, a Cincinnati non-profit, is sharing Reese’s story at an upcoming fundraiser and has named Reese an ambassador for cancer research.

“It was really neat when I got the flyer in the mail, and they had featured her story to just share awareness and her story and her battle,” Chrystie said.

Chrystie said she is beyond thankful for Reese’s current condition.

“We still hold faith that she’s going to beat this,” she said. “Reese is a very strong little girl, and I think that she’s gonna beat it, and I’m gonna hold on to that until I can’t.”

Reese will soon be going back to therapy to help with her disabilities. She will have another scan in several months to check the status of her cancer.

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