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'We're looking for a miracle': Ohio girl, 3, who survived abuse now fighting brain cancer

Published: Tuesday, August 13, 2019 @ 2:02 PM

3-year-old Ohio girl who survived abuse now fighting cancer

A 3-year-old Ohio girl who suffered through child abuse from her biological relatives is now fighting an even bigger battle. Karlyn Reese Blankenship, who goes by Reese, is fighting terminal cancer.

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“We’re looking for a miracle, and we need that miracle,” Raquel Scott, Reese's godmother, told WXIX.

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Reese has battled challenges throughout her short life. She was born prematurely and was barely breathing, her adoptive parents told the television station. By the time she was 2, Reese had been physically abused.

“She was malnourished,” Reese's adoptive mother, Chrystie Blankenship, told WXIX. “She weighed 15 pounds at 17 months old."

Danny Blankenship and Chrystie Blankenship took in Reese in October 2017 when they became her foster parents, the television station reported. Reese was blind, unable to walk on her own and was restricted to a limited liquid diet, but the Blankenships told WXIX she made great progress in her physical therapy.

As the Blankenships prepared to adopt Reese in June 2019, she was diagnosed with diffuse intrinsic pontine glioma, or DIPG. According to St. Jude Children's Research Hospital, DIPG begins in the brain stem and controls breathing, heart rate and muscles that help people see, hear, eat, talk and walk.

Stage 4, which Reese has, is the most aggressive stage of the cancer.

“I was told that our prognosis was nine to 12 months. My knees buckled, and I hit the floor,” Chrystie Blankenship told WXIX. “In a matter of a second, your entire life has changed, and every plan that you had was gone.”

To help publicize Reese's story, the Blankenships created a non-profit called Reese’s Rainbow

There is a GoFundMe page in place for the family, and the Blankenships have started two Facebook pages: Reese’s Rainbow Event Page and a Karlyn Reese Blankenship page.

“I believe with all my heart that if anybody could beat DIPG by fighting, that she would actually beat it,” Danny Blankenship told WXIX. "She taught me through all of it -- don't give up. Fight to the end."