The diagnosis hit hard.
5-year-old Piper Samuels was in for the fight of her life against a rare aggressive cancer, and the community…rallied.
The Samuels family never saw it coming.
An impromptu prayer vigil.
Families filled their Avon Lake lawn holding candles against the night sky.
Some of them, maybe most, were total strangers.
Hundreds of them, pulling for Piper to crush cancer, without even officially meeting her.
Piper’s classmates lined up front and center back in November to pray over their preschool friend. "So she can feel better and she can come to school,” they said.
It all happened on one day's notice of a prayer rally for Piper, planned by her preschool teacher.
That was the eve of the day Piper would lose a battle but not the fight.
Doctors amputated her right leg from the knee down.
That was then. This is now.
March 2017: Piper really is crushing cancer and proving she's a force to be reckoned with.
Radiation is still on the way, but 12 of 14 chemo treatments are finished.
"She has had two cycles of clear scans so she is winning!" says her mom, Kari Samuels.
So Kari and Piper’s big brother Nolan Samuels shaved their heads in solidarity with their resilient fighter.
They did it last week alongside other St. Baldrick baldies at UH Rainbow Babies and Children's Hospital, raising money and awareness.
It's the latest chapter in this Samuels family story that started with prayers for Piper from strangers.They’re sending strength still, to an unforgettable five-year-old who's not afraid to fight.
Dad Kevin Samuels will be next.
He’ll be going beautifully St. Baldrick's bald this Saturday March 18th at The Force on Center Ridge in Rocky River.
There is a fundraiser this Friday, March 17, as well at AJ Rocco’s downtown.