Aly's Army rallies around 8-year-old fighting cancer

There's a small army of people supporting an Austin girl as she fights cancer and the side effects from her battle. Aly Defilippis, 8, was diagnosed with neuroblastoma in 2013.

"She's so kind and she's loving and forgiving," said Rebbeca Brown about her daughter's personality.

Aly loves dancing, singing and running. She's training to take part in the Survivor's Challenge race which isn't something she could have done two years ago. 

Chances are you'll find a smile on Aly's face even though she's been through so much. 
 
She remembers how she felt when she was diagnosed. 
 
"Terrible," recalled Aly during a check-up appointment. 
 
"Within 24 hours we knew it was something more," said Brown. 
 
"My stomach really really really hurt," said Aly. 
 
Aly was given a 30 percent chance of survival. News that was only shared with her immediate family. She spent more than 100 nights in the hospital and even some holidays. She was poked with needles so many times, too many for her mom to keep up with. 
 
"We told her that she has something in her body that doesn't belong. It's called cancer and we're going to do everything we can to get rid of it," said Brown. 
 
Not long after is when Aly's Army assembled. Her team of family, friends and medical professionals all working toward the same goal. 
 
"She's been heroically fighting a difficult disease, said Dr. Virginia Harrod, an oncologist at Dell Children's Medical Center. "When we can get cancer in remission, which is the wonder state Aly is in, we want to keep it that way."
 
For many patients diagnosed with neuroblastoma the aggressive cancer comes back and that's something researchers at Dell Children's are trying to prevent. Aly is taking part in a research trial. The drug she's taking is Elfornithine or DFMO. It's for patients with high risk neuroblastoma who are in remission. The research is promising according to Dr. Harrod. 
 
"Our deepest desire is to find those breakthroughs and participate in research studies that help children like Aly," said Dr. Harrod. 
 
"It just means a little bit of blood and a piece of her tumor. That doesn't affect us and they can research that," said Brown.
 
Aly is at the end of her known treatment. "If she didn't have access to the trial I don't know what we would be doing," said Brown who hopes her daughter has a good and long life. 
 
The side effects of her fight against childhood cancer will linger. Aly's motto through this difficult journey has been to be brave and be strong. 
 
The trial she's taking part in is sponsored  by the Neuroblastoma & Medulloblastoma Translational Research Consortium, which is being chaired by Dr. Giselle Sholler.
 
Mark your calendars for a benefit for the Dell Children's Blood and Cancer Center. The Band Perry will take the stage on October 15 and ACL Moody Theater. Tickets are still available. 
 
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