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4-year-old Roanoke girl continues fight against rare, aggressive cancer

Rowan Price receiving treatment at Duke post-stem cell transplant

ROANOKE, Va. – A 4-year-old Roanoke girl continues treatment for a rare, aggressive form of leukemia.

10 News first introduced you to Rowan Price in October, shortly after her shocking diagnosis. The Price family has been through the ringer since then.

Her mom Mandy, a nurse, and her dad Scott, a special education teacher, have both put their jobs on hold, relocating to Durham for Rowan's stem cell transplant at Duke.

"You go through every single emotion that there is and you're terrified at the same time because we were told by our oncologist at Roanoke Memorial that the chemotherapy that she went through would be a walk in the park compared to a transplant and she was right," Mandy said.

Rowan started the strenuous next step in her journey at Duke on Jan. 21, receiving her stem cell transplant on Jan. 30, then waited for her cells to grow.

"We lost our child for a while. She went somewhere and it took a long time to come back. She was weak. She was nauseous. She had sores in her mouth all the way down to her gut. She couldn't eat. She really couldn't talk,” Mandy said.

The transplant worked and Rowan finally got to leave the hospital on March 13. It was the first time she saw the outside world for 43 days.

"There is still a lot to be scared about, but it was a huge sense of relief because this journey is not, by far, over for us," Mandy said.

Rowan, Scott and Mandy are now able to reunite with their oldest daughter, Emory, who's had to stay in school in Roanoke this whole time, hundreds of miles away from her family.

"It means the world to me as a dad. It's been hard because you feel like you lost both your kids, because you have no control," Scott said.

Now they're starting to get control back, as the Price family gets one step closer to normal each and every day.

"Never in our wildest dreams did we ever think we'd hear the word cancer concerning one of our kids and it has really provided us perspective in life," Mandy said.

"Every day is different and the more that Rowan gets normal, back to 100% so to speak… I don't know, just seeing her continues to give us strength to keep fighting," Scott said.

Rowan is now on day 56 post-transplant. She has to make it to 100 days without issues before the Price family can come back to Roanoke. Rowan won't be considered in remission until she's five years cancer-free.

About the Author:

Jessica anchors 10 News on Saturdays and Sundays at 6 and 11 p.m. You can also catch her reporting during the week.