‘Savannah Smiles’: Southport community rallies around 10-year-old fighting tumor

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SOUTHPORT, Ind. — Ten-year-old Savannah McHale sits in a hospital bed in Cincinnati on Monday with a smile on her face despite battling a tough diagnosis.

“She loves the outdoors, she loves unicorns and cats, and she was diagnosed on November 19th with DIPG,” her mother Kimberly McHale said.

McHale said Savannah has an inoperable tumor on her brain stem. There’s no cure as of now, but Savannah’s family is hopeful. Right now they make weekly trips to Cincinnati for treatment.

Savannah says her message is “stay happy,” and that’s  exactly what she’s trying to do as she fights the tumor.

“It’s very hard but day by day, that’s how we make it day by day,” her mother said, explaining they’re down to one income now. 

Southport Police are trying to make life a little easier for Savannah and her family.

“They’re all part of our family, and we want to make sure that they’re taken care of,” Officer John Benton said. 

They’re organizing a fundraiser with UNO Pizzeria and Grill in Southport.

“Basically, just try to help out with some of her bills, different things, treatments,” Benton said.

All month long, UNO’s is donating up to 20 percent of the bill when someone brings in a ticket for the fundraiser. Thursday, Southport Police will serve food 5:30 to9:30 p.m. and the chief may even make drinks.

“It’s everything. Like I said earlier it’s, law enforcement’s not just about taking people to jail it’s about going and helping the community in any way possible,” Officer Benton said. 

Her family said the support is amazing.

The campaign to help is named perfectly, too. It’s called “Savannah Smiles.” That’s the message she’s sharing with you.

“Keep smiling and stay positive,” Savannah said.

A fundraising page is also set up for donations. 

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