SHARONVILLE, Ohio — A 3-year-old Ohio girl who suffered through child abuse from her biological relatives is now fighting an even bigger battle. Karlyn Reese Blankenship, who goes by Reese, is fighting terminal cancer.
Reese has battled challenges throughout her short life. She was born prematurely and was barely breathing, her adoptive parents told the television station. By the time she was 2, Reese had been physically abused.
"She was malnourished," Reese's adoptive mother, Chrystie Blankenship, told WXIX. "She weighed 15 pounds at 17 months old."
Danny Blankenship and Chrystie Blankenship took in Reese in October 2017 when they became her foster parents, the television station reported. Reese was blind, unable to walk on her own and was restricted to a limited liquid diet, but the Blankenships told WXIX she made great progress in her physical therapy.
As the Blankenships prepared to adopt Reese in June 2019, she was diagnosed with diffuse intrinsic pontine glioma, or DIPG. According to St. Jude Children's Research Hospital, DIPG begins in the brain stem and controls breathing, heart rate and muscles that help people see, hear, eat, talk and walk.
Stage 4, which Reese has, is the most aggressive stage of the cancer.
"I was told that our prognosis was nine to 12 months. My knees buckled, and I hit the floor," Chrystie Blankenship told WXIX. "In a matter of a second, your entire life has changed, and every plan that you had was gone."
To help publicize Reese's story, the Blankenships created a non-profit called Reese's Rainbow.
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