NORTH SMITHFIELD, R.I. (WPRI) ─ Childhood Cancer Awareness Month may have just wrapped up, but one North Smithfield family is making sure its message is spread far and wide for months to come.
The cause has been close to Anne Powers’ heart ever since her daughter, Julia, was diagnosed with Oseosarcoma in 2016.
“I still think back. ‘Really? Julia has been diagnosed with cancer?'” Anne recalled. “I remember the moment we found out. The whole room just spun around. I couldn’t believe it.”
Since she was 8 years old, Anne said her daughter has gone through intense chemotherapy and 20 surgeries to remove a tumor growing in her leg.
“It’s really hard,” Julia said. “Some people don’t understand that because they haven’t went through it.”
That’s why the Powers family and their friends have been painting and decorating rocks to place throughout Rhode Island. They hope they can spread awareness one rock at a time.
“We set up a little station outside,” Anne said. “We had it in the front and I put out to my friends around here that they could paint rocks for us. They would come with their family and their mask on and everyone would paint their rocks.”
On the back of each rock is Julia’s Facebook page, where the person who finds it can learn more about Osteosarcoma, the warning signs and treatment options.
Many of the rocks also have the names of local kids who are battling or have battled cancer.
“It’s sad that so many kids have to go through cancer at such a young age, but I’m also happy that there’s more people like me,” Julia said.
Anne encourages anyone who finds a rock to visit Julia’s Facebook page. She said they’ve already had a few people do just that, and they plan to make this a yearly tradition.
If you know a child who you think is Small but Strong, email Shannon at SHegy@wpri.com.
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