Teen's community "cuts up" to show support

Published 01/15 2014 12:52PM

Updated 01/16 2014 10:54AM

Update: 10:25 pm, 1/15/14, Wednesday
PAXTON -- Some medical bills for a teen battling cancer will be paid in full thanks to support from her community. Caitlynn Riblet has bone cancer and has already started chemotherapy.

Riblet will start to lose her hair next week, so her high school held a cut-a-thon Tuesday night. Dozens of friends shaved off their hair. They helped raise more than $2,000.
Original: 10:11 pm, 1/14/14, Tuesday
PAXTON -- It's hard for this dad to find words of gratitude after witnessing what his community did Tuesday night to support his daughter. Caitlynn Riblet is 15-years old.

Instead of worrying about getting a driver's license, she's going through chemotherapy after doctors found a tumor. WCIA-3's Megan Brilley finds out how the family is handling the challenge no family can prepare for.

They say it came as an even bigger shock because Caitlynn is so healthy and involved in so many sports, but that could very well end up being what saved her life after all.

Looking at Caitlynn, you see a normal teenage girl. She plays basketball, volleyball, swims and runs track. She felt sore, but thought it was just because of her hectic schedule.

"Her sciatic nerve was giving her problems."

The pain continued, so she had her body scanned. Doctors found a tumor.

"It was kind of a punch to the face."

"She's my daughter. There's nothing I can do to fix her."

Caitlynn was diagnosed with a bone cancer called Ewing's sarcoma. She was whisked away to Chicago for treatments. Doctors told her she would no longer blend in with her classmates.

"My hair is a lot to me. I have a lot of it. Knowing that I'm going to be losing it soon, is kind of just scary."

But, when she got home, she realized, she wouldn't be as alone as she thought.

"We're a team, so I got to support her anyway I can."

17-year old Logan Freed is on the basketball team with Caitlynn. She did something huge to show Caitlynn, she's her teammate on and off the court.

"I just want to be there for her and so she will see that other people are there for her and she won't feel alone."

She won't be. Teachers, classmates and even some strangers shaved all their hair off. Funds raised will help pay for medical expenses, but it's giving Caitlynn more than just money. It's giving her strength and hope.

"As everybody in the community started to come together to support me, I've been getting stronger and stronger everyday."

Caitlynn will go through two rounds of chemo, possibly radiation and surgery to remove the tumor. She'll begin losing her hair next week. Doctors are 90% sure the tumor will never come back.

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