Cancer strikes even the most innocent victims. In this week's "Health Watch," NewsChannel 10's Michelle Langowski introduces us to an area family who is trying to turn their tragedy into something positive.
Madison was a healthy and active 14 year old who wanted all she could get out of life. But the last two years became a daily struggle.
"The last words we spoke to her, Shannon and I were standing there and we said we love you and she said I love you too. We left on a good note," remembers her dad Levi Knebusch.
Those words came in January, Madison was diagnosed with undifferentiated sarcoma, something doctors had never seen before. It began in 2010 when Madison was in 8th grade.
She complained of allergy-like symptoms, a sore throat and trouble eating. After visiting numerous doctors in Amarillo and across the state. It was discovered there was a very large tumor in her throat.
She had an emergency surgery to remove a portion of it, but spots were also found on her lungs. Over the next two years, Madison underwent radiation, chemotherapy and countless scans and tests.
"I pretty much knew at that point that there's really nothing we can do because it would start to spread through her brain as it spread through her chest cavity. Shannon and I talked about it and decided it was just time to let her go."
Madison's battle left a strong message with those who knew her. Her mom Shannon gets emotional remembering her daughter..."just how strong she was. She was a fighter and she was faithful to God and she had a love for life and she was a good person and she cared about people."
The Knebusch family says they do not have any regrets, but have advice for parents. "Listen to your intuition as a mother. If you think something is wrong, it possibly is. And don't go on what one doctor says - get a second opinion," says Shannon.
Levi adds, "I think probably everybody that I know has somebody affected by cancer, either they knew somebody or it was a family member, or heaven forbid, a child."