RICHMOND, Virginia – Josie Economy never lets obstacles big or small unsettle them.
“If you look at it like a bad day, you’re going to run your mind into having a bad day,” Josie said.
The 11-year-old lives with dyslexia, dyscalculia, and dysgraphia and has problems organizing letters and numbers.
“I turn numbers and I turn reading and stuff,” she said.
But the sixth grader’s disturbances pale in comparison to an ordeal that began two years ago.
“I had extreme pain in my lower back,” Josie recalls.
The young dancer and her mother Jennifer initially thought she had torn or pulled a muscle.
“I just collapsed in class because I couldn’t take the pain,” Josie said.
Jennifer felt helpless.
“Of course we started the emergency room visits because she was screaming in pain,” said Jennifer. “It went so far that she could no longer walk.”
Then one day Josie’s life would change forever. “September 11, 2019.”
Scans revealed the worst. A tumor the size of a baseball.
“When you take a child to the doctor with back pain, the last thing is that they have a huge tumor, because it’s so rare, because it’s so rare,” says Jennifer.
How rare? Ewings Sarcoma lifts its ugly head on only 200 American children each year.
“Although it was sad, they tried something and hopefully that helped,” Josie said.
And so began months of hospitalization and rounds of chemotherapy.
“All the memories I have there make me feel guilty because chemo in general is gross,” Josie said.
Made available to WTVR
The treatments worked. Last December, doctors at the children’s hospital shared encouraging news about her shrinking tumor.
“It felt a lot better. I felt a lot happier, “said Josie.
But in February the aggressive cancer returned. This time in her lungs.
“Very bad. It wasn’t fun being there, ”she said.
“Josie hasn’t been out of her room in days, so they put her in the wheelchair,” recalls Jennifer.
Before she got cancer, Josie’s teacher officially recognized her as the “little engine that could”.
“She got it right because Josie is the one who doesn’t give up,” said Jennifer.
This little locomotive is going to need a silver lining this summer that needs a boost. Josie will be the face of Anthem Lemonaid, a fundraiser for boys and girls fighting cancer.
“Josie has always loved lemons. She likes lemon motifs. Your clothes have lemons. Yellow is her favorite color. There are lemons on his shoes, ”said Jennifer.
Josie proudly wears the ambassador’s crown. Challenge everyone, including this reporter, to the Lemon Challenge.
She is responsible while receiving life-saving medication.
“She has two more rounds of chemo and two more rounds of radiation, and if everything is okay she should be ready by the end of August,” said Jennifer.
We all face obstacles in our personal and professional lives. But remember, if life gives you sour lemons, Josie Economy may have the cutest recipe out there.
“It makes me really happy because now I can help people like me,” smiled Josie. “Here’s my outlook. When you know it wouldn’t be the complete end of the world and when you know it can be repaired, you have a positive attitude about it.”
Further information on the hymn Lemonaid can be found here.
If you know anyone I should mention in my Heroes Among Us, email me at [email protected]