COLORADO SPRINGS — Just over a year since her diagnosis with leukemia, a little girl and her family are still receiving big support from the Colorado Springs community.
In August of last year, 4-year-old Bexley Schumaker was diagnosed with ALL (Acute Lymphoblastic Leukemia). The community quickly rallied behind her and the Schumaker family, supporting them during their cancer journey. Meanwhile, through all the support they've received, they've been able to support other families and give back.
"It's amazing to know that little kids, adults, people everywhere, help give us the chance to help other people who might be going through a hard time, and we can pay it forward," said Jenny. "Even though we're going through a hard time, we have other people supporting us, so we could support our family and our three boys who also need us."
Last year when Bexley was diagnosed with cancer, a family friend brought pink shirts to the family's home to support Bexley. Pink is her favorite color and the shirts read "Bexley Strong". Soon after, the family founded the Bexley's Blessings Foundation and they began selling pink t-shirts to raise money for pediatric cancer research.
Every Friday since then, a sea of people in pink t-shirts are seen walking from the neighborhood to Chinook Elementary School, and a year later, the support has only grown.
"It's just a really amazing feeling to know that she just hasn't been forgotten in a year," said Jenny Schumaker, her mom,
"You would think after a year, out of sight, out of mind kind of thing, but really the support never stopped, it never dropped off. If anything, it gained momentum," said Kurt Schumaker, Bexley's dad. "But she's surrounded by this entire community, and the school, just like my wife, has leaned into this head fist, and they have been there every step of the way."
Meanwhile September is Childhood Cancer Awareness Month, and little Bexley was recently named an ambassador for Children's Hospital Colorado. It's a two-year commitment from the family, to share their story with others, and give back during their cancer journey.
"It's just a really great opportunity for our family to share her story and just the positive impact that giving back can help," said Jenny, who said Bexley will be representing other kids like herself.
"She will get to talk about the hospital's mission, and be the face of the hospital to help raise funds for childhood cancer awareness and research."
Bexley has now completed one year out of her three-year treatment, and her family says her body is responding well.
"You can tell, she looks a lot better than the last time we had the interview. She has some hair back," said Jenny. "She's had a tough year, a really hard year that you wouldn't want for your child, but she has had tremendous support."
Her family says she's been a fighter since day one, and they try to remain positive even on the hard days, and celebrate all the small milestones with cake.
"She is one tough little kid. The stuff that she's been through and the way that she's handled it has been it's been incredible," said Kurt.
As for her latest title, ambassador for Children's Hospital Colorado, Bexley and her family will continue to help raise funds for childhood cancer awareness and research.
"It gives us the chance to help other people who might be going through a hard time, and we can pay it forward," said Jenny.
The family has sold more than 700 t-shirts through the Bexley's Blessings Foundation. That money goes toward filling up a pink wagon called Bexley's Blessings with hundreds of toys. The gifts in the wagon are given to other kids fighting cancer to help bring a smile to their face.
Jenny also said kids in the neighborhood have set up lemonade stands for Bexley, and the community has also hosted food and toy drives.