The City of Enterprise rallied behind four-year-old Avalynn James, who is currently battling cancer, as she made her first trip back home in over a year on Oct. 11.
On Oct. 10, 2018, James was diagnosed with stage 4 neuroblastoma. Since that day, James has gone through four rounds of chemotherapy, two stem cell transplants, 12 rounds of radiation and a tumor resection surgery, according to her mother Kristen Mahan.
Mahan said that after James fought the cancer for about a year, the family received news that it had returned.
“A little over a month ago—a week after we finished radiation—we found out her cancer had come back,” Mahan said. “So now we’re just kind of starting back over.”
Now, James is taking chemotherapy again along with a trial antibody treatment. Mahan said the treatment is meant to get James’ natural antibodies to attack and destroy the cancer cells in her body.
“It can be very harsh,” Mahan said. “This last treatment was easier on her but the first one was really bad. (The treatment) causes a lot of pain because it’s attacking those places and high fevers and just all around makes you feel bad.”
James’ return to Enterprise served as both a cure for her homesickness and a brief respite before she returns back to treatments full time.
The last stop of her return home tour was at Enterprise City Hall where Mayor William “Bill” Cooper presented James with a gift from the city.
“I just want to say welcome home,” Cooper said. “We have missed you and we hope that all goes well. A four-year-old girl like you has plenty of energy and I know you’re ready to play. Anytime or anything we can do as far as helping you to move along—you tell your mom and dad to feel free to call up Mr. Cooper, and I will do what I can. Even if it takes coming and playing the the trumpet for you, okay? We’re praying for you and we hope all goes well.”
The large homecoming was made in part by a social media campaign that caught traction throughout the city. By the time the day came, friends, families and residents were lining different locations throughout the city. Several businesses also participated.
Mahan said the family is blessed to have the support of everyone.
“It all is amazing,” Mahan said. “We couldn’t be any more blessed to have our community and everybody behind us.”
As for her daughter, Mahan said she’s proud of her little fighter.
“I couldn’t be anymore proud of her,” “She has been amazing though it all. She has every reason to complain about everything and doesn’t. When it comes time to go to the hospital, she goes, no problem.”