3-year-old Salem girl battling rare, aggressive form of leukemia

Rowan Price undergoes first round of chemotherapy treatments

By Jessica Jewell - Weekend Anchor / Reporter

ROANOKE, Va. - A Salem couple is facing a parent’s worst nightmare, as their 3-year-old daughter undergoes treatment for a rare and aggressive form of leukemia.

The only warning sign they had was some odd bruising that started showing up a couple of months ago. Then, two weeks ago, they decided to have a doctor take a closer look.

"The moment she (the doctor) walked into the room, we knew exactly what was coming out of her mouth," Mandy Price, Rowan’s mother, said.

Life forever changed for the Price family on Oct. 5, when doctors diagnosed Rowan with acute myeloid leukemia, or AML M7.

"It’s probably the hardest thing that you could ever face as parents," Rowan’s father, Scott Price, said.

It was a nightmare for her parents--one, a special education teacher and the other a nurse--but also for Rowan's 6-year-old sister, Emory.

"She even said, 'I can't believe my sissy has cancer. She's just 3,'" Mandy said.

Rowan started chemotherapy, which her parents call her princess medicine, at Carilion almost immediately.

"When she gets her princess medicine, she has princess powers and she chooses to freeze people, like Elsa, so she has frozen us quite often. She likes to freeze her favorite doctors and her nurses," Mandy said.

The happy-go-lucky little girl is on day six of 10 in her first round of chemo, and her family is doing its best to make life as normal as possible despite the uphill battle she's facing.

"She’s had some moments where she has said, 'Why? Why am I here? This isn't fair. I want to be home with my sissy.' And we say, 'Well, you're sick. It's not fair. It's not. But it's happened and we're going to get through it and God's got this.' And she just looks at us and says, 'I know,'" Mandy said.

Rowan’s fighting spirit is inspiring everyone around her.

"It’s kind of weird that we kind of pull our strength from her sometimes," Scott said.

They're also pulling strength from people in the community, who have filled Rowan's hospital room with gifts and poured nearly $34,000 into a GoFundMe account.

The overwhelming support is giving the Price family hope and creating a community of people who are Rowan strong.

"I think a lot of people question, 'How can you have so much faith when something like this happens?' And I really, truly believe that God's going to take care of our little girl," Scott said.

Rowan's treatment will involve 10 straight days of chemotherapy each month for the next six to eight months. Her parents hope she can go home in between treatments, but her immune system will be so weak that she'll have to go back to the hospital if she gets a fever while at home.

Click here to help the Price family.

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