Rare diagnosis inspires patient to give back

2016-04-08 16:21:50 by Julianne Mobilian, PR Intern, as posted on the inside.akronchildrens.org blog.

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Megan (center) and her friends raised $1,500 for our Showers Center through their fundraising efforts.
A gifted athlete, Megan Merrill didn’t let ovarian cancer stop her. Now, the former cancer patient gives back as much as she can to help other children with cancer.

Megan’s journey began when she was in the 5th grade. She started experiencing stomach pains when she practiced on the bars, a common gymnastics activity. But soon the pain became unbearable, and Megan’s family rushed her to the emergency department. A series of tests revealed a tumor on her right ovary.

The odds of an ovarian tumor affecting a 5th grader are 1 in 2 million, so her situation called for delicate care and immediate action. Megan was treated at Akron Children’s Showers Family Center for Childhood Cancer and Blood Disorders.

“I love the care we got,” says Kim Merrill, Megan’s mother. “I feel blessed that we have a facility here in Akron, and the people who work on the 5th floor are truly incredible people. They’re meant to do what they do.”

Rigorous rounds of chemotherapy and surgery were enough to get rid of the tumor, which was larger than her stomach. However, that wasn’t without complications. Two months after starting treatment, Megan needed an emergency appendectomy because of a tumor in her appendix.

Megan’s setbacks have motivated her to work harder to give back to other children with cancer.

With the help of her friends, Jackie Roberts and Nicole Langenfeld, the girls created a flag football fundraiser between students and teachers. The girls sold $1 tickets as well as teal bandanas – the color for ovarian cancer awareness – during every lunch or free period at Revere Middle School.

The entire middle school rallied around Megan’s cause and the girls raised $1,500 for Akron Children’s Hospital.

Whether it’s making her own events or competing for good causes, Megan, who’s now in remission, always has her sights set on the next fundraising endeavor. It’s a lot of time and hard work, but would she do it again?

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