Community rallies around Greene County girl by being #OakleeStrong
GREENE COUNTY, Va. (WVIR) - Friends, family and some total strangers have been rallying around a little girl from Greene County who’s facing some very serious health challenges. There is also a late word that she’ll have to leave Virginia to continue her care.
No parent can ever prepare for what the Gentry family is going through. However, thanks to the help of the community and doctors at the University of Virginia Medical Center, Oaklee Gentry has some extra help in her fight against cancer. Oaklee Gentry looks like your typical one-year-old girl from the outside.
"She’s strong, she’s a strong-willed girl, and she has been since day one,” Katlyn Gentry, Oaklee’s mother, said.
She loves playing with toys and spending time with her parents in their Greene County home. However, the Gentry's life flipped upside down in late December of last year.
"She was very limp and lethargic, so an ambulance came and took her to the Ruckersville fire-house, and Pegasus met us there and she got airlifted,” Katlyn said.
After arriving at UVA, doctors discovered a tumor covering one-third of her left brain cavity and rushed Oaklee into emergency surgery.
"I made the decision to take to her to the operating room as soon as possible to help relieve the pressure on her brain and really to give her a chance of survival,” Hassan Syed, a doctor at UVA, said.
Dr. Syed and his team were able to remove 95% of the tumor that night. Her parents say the team of doctors at UVA saved their daughter’s life.
"For her to make it out of the operating room was a miracle because the mass was just so big,” Katlyn said.
Since her surgery, Oaklee has had dozens of appointments at UVA to figure out the best way to treat what’s left of the tumor.
"Oaklee’s family has been so supportive of our team and its really been a pleasure to take care of her, every time I see her it really gives me the motivation to take care of other patients as well,” Syed said.
People from across central Virginia have been rallying behind the Gentry family. More than a dozen fundraisers have been planned to help cover Oaklee's medical expenses.
"The outpouring from the community from people we don't even know, people that aren't even in the state of Virginia, we've just had a lot of support,” Katlyn said.
The Gentry’s came up with the hashtag ‘#OakleeStrong’ to help others follow their daughter’s road to recovery.
"If there’s going to be anything that she has to go through, she going to get through it. She’s proved that to us several times,” Katlyn said.
The Gentry family is temporarily moving to Tennessee for Oaklee to receive treatment at St. Jude.
To view a full list of all the #OakleeStrong benefits planned, you can view the Facebook post below:
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