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Nurses Start Fundraiser to Help Little Girl Battling Rare Cancer

Updated: 03/18/2014 7:33 PM
Created: 03/18/2014 7:17 PM KAALtv.com
By: Jenna Lohse

(ABC 6 News) -- A Rochester mom recently got news no parent ever wants to hear. Her five year old daughter has a rare form of cancer. But the spirit and determination of this family of two has pulled on the heart strings of the nurses who first helped them.

For Malynda Jordahl and her five year old daughter Emma, a stay in the hospital wasn't planned. It started with a stomach ache and an ER visit to Olmsted Medical Center last week.

"Knocked the world out from under me, told me that she's got the Wilms tumors. She's got a large tumor in her right kidney and a good size one in her left,” said Emma’s mom, Malynda Jordahl of Rochester.

Emma was transferred to Mayo Clinic's Saint Mary’s Campus where doctors found four additional lesions in her lungs.

"It's really hard to go from a normal playing child that's a little spitfire, to cancer, it's crazy,” said Jordahl.

Emma is now undergoing chemotherapy. Doctors say this type of cancer primarily affects kids, but say there's only 500 cases diagnosed in the U.S. each year. "Of those only 5% involve both kidneys,” said Dr. Candace Granberg with Mayo Clinic.

"I would take it from her in a heartbeat,” said Jordahl.

Malynda is a single working mom who also takes care of her parents full time. being by Emma’s side is now her priority, but it means not going to work. “I don't know how I’m going to do this, you know, how am I going to make it from here to April 1st rent,” said Jordahl.

A struggle a group of nurses at OMC wanted to help with. "I felt that even though my clinical obligation was certainly done, there was sort of a human factor that wasn't done yet,” said Katrina Gabelko, OMC Nurse Practioner.

Katrina Gabelko took care of Emma the night of her diagnosis, and has since created the "Hope For Emma Team" on her own terms. Helping to raise money for Emma’s medical bills. "She just amazes me,” said Gabelko.

"It's not the best way to make friends, but I’m glad she's there and the other people who were in the ER that night,” said Jordahl.

There is some good news here. “For this particular tumor, survival rates have gone up from 20% in the late 1960s to about 90% nowadays," said Dr. Granberg.

These girls are holding onto to hope and to each other.

"She's a strong and determined little girl like I am, so one way or another, I hope and pray that everything will be just fine,” said Jordahl.

Emma will eventually need surgery to remove the tumors in both kidneys. A surgery that, if all goes well, could cure her for life. Community members have created a benefit account for Emma at any U.S. Bank under "Hope for Emma"

A gofundme site has also been set up where donations can be made. http://www.gofundme.com/7jsw7c