6-year-old improving in brain cancer fight

Published On: Apr 09 2013 01:00:47 PM EDT
Updated On: Apr 09 2013 10:02:50 PM EDT

We have an update on a little girl who's melted our hearts here at Channel 4. Over the past year, we've brought you a number of stories on Ellie Szabados (suh-BAY-dos) -- she's battling brain cancer. Channel 4's Ashley Mitchem caught up with the spirited 6-year-old this morning, and talked with her about her fight.

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. -

You would never know 6-year-old Ellie Szabados is going through chemotherapy and battling brain cancer, but it was a typical Tuesday for Ellie, who took a visit to Nemours Children's Clinic.

"Better. I always play," Szabados said.

For a while Ellie wasn't doing so well. Treatment wasn't working, so doctors are experimenting with something new. And so far that is working.

Ellie's family is overwhelmed with joy.

"This is the first time for a very long time I don't have it in the back of my mind that she might die, 'cause these people are so wonderful and they have done so much for my daughter," said Stephanie Szabados, Ellie's mom.

Ellie has been fighting brain cancer for 16 months, and there have been a lot of ups and downs. One thing she's really happy about -- she has her hair back.

"I'm so happy that my mommy can put -- my mommy can put a ponytail in," Ellie said.

The past two MRIs show improvements. The tumors in Ellie's brain are stable. The tumor in her spine is also shrinking slightly.

"We are on top of the world right now. We are so completely celebrating right now," Stephanie said.

Things are looking up for the Szabados family, and Ellie's mom says it's all because of the support from the community.

"Someone on the prayers page actually gave me a job, so I'm working in the first time in a long time, in like forever," Stephanie said.

The family hopes this support leads to something else: people educating themselves on how common childhood cancer actually is and how research may find new ways to destroy cancer altogether.

"We need the awareness, we need the research, we need to stop childhood cancer, we need this to go away," Stephanie said. "Because none of these kids deserve this."

Ellie has 81 weeks left of chemotherapy, and her next MRI is in seven weeks.

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