COPPERAS COVE (July 13, 2012)- A birthday party is planned for a local girl diagnosed with cancer, she says her one wish is to make it a celebration everyone can enjoy.
Alyssa Ranard, a 10-year-old student at Martin Walker Elementary, was diagnosed with Metastatic Osteosarcoma, a condition in which a tumor spreads from the initially affected bone to one or more sites in the body.
The diagnosis came just before the start of summer vacation.
She's currently in treatment at the McLane Children's Hospital Scott and White in Temple. Alyssa's grandmother, Sonya Brend, said some of the treatment has made her very ill and she's lost her hair, but remains upbeat.
While Alyssa fights a battle at the hospital her family is rallying support in Copperas Cove in preparation for her birthday party on July, 21st.
The event is open to anyone who wants to come and will be at 2834 Arrowhead Drive in Copperas Cove starting at 11 a.m. Brend said so far they've gotten donations for the party.
Dairy Queen in Lampasas donated more than 300 ice cream cones, and Pizza Hut in Copperas Cove will be helping with the food. Soldiers from the 1st Cavalry Division at Fort Hood are working to collect presents, and a Temple company will be donating the use of two bounce houses.
"People from all over are hearing about Alyssa and have wanted to help," Brend said. Earlier this month Brend said she got a letter in the mail from someone in Gatesville she'd never met with $40, and that's not the only case strangers have tried to help.
While donations have been made for the birthday celebration and medical bills, Alyssa's family is still struggling with the challenge of medical bills that continue to add up. Bend says right now Alyssa's treatment in the hospital could cost close to $100,000.
"Medicaid isn't covering a pain medication she needs, so that has been a very expensive item that's added up," Bend said.
The family has held two yard sales and a T-shirt sale hoping to raise donations.
Alyssa has decided that she wants to become a nurse when she grows up.
If you would like to help with donations or want more details on the community birthday party you can call 254.238.8460 for more information.