Teen cancer survivor speaks out in support of childhood cancer awareness month

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INDIANAPOLIS, Ind. - September is childhood cancer awareness month. Each day, 42 families in the United States will receive the devastating news that their child has cancer.

I sat down with a young Hoosier survivor Wednesday to talk about the hardest fight of her life that she won.

At just 13-years-old Amani Gates heard one word that changed her life. Cancer. An eighth grader excited about playing a new sport and hanging with friends would start to spend most of her time at Peyton Manning Children's Hospital.

"During volleyball season is when we discovered the lump on my shoulder. We thought it was a bone that was dislocated. We went to the hospitals and got scans and everything," Amani Gates said.

The scans showed Amani had osteosarcoma, the most common bone cancer in children.

I was angry, I was hurt, I was sad but I knew she would get through it if mama didn't break down," Amani's mother, Resheeda Gates said.

Amani's mom says the diagnosis made her feel connected to other families who were on the same journey.

"And so it opened my eyes to even more than just cancer for adults. Kids, millions of kids get cancer. Hundreds of kids get diagnosed every single day and my child was one," Gates said.

So the family got involved with St. Vincent's yearly cancer challenge to raise money and awareness. Now a three year survivor who's completely in remission Amani says she's ready to go from patient to advocate.

"Me as a survivor I can go and I guess tell my journey and kind of influence people and get involved and everything."

The St. Vincent Cancer Run/Walk Challenge presented by Turner Construction Company will take place at 8 a.m., September 16 at Lions Park, Zionsville.

To register or to make a donation visit www.stvincentcancerchallenge.org. For additional information call the St. Vincent Foundation at 317-338-5095.