A 9-year-old girl is fighting against cancer and her community is coming together to raise money for her medical bills.
Saturday kicked off Tatum’s Tournament in Purcell. It was a baseball and softball tournament with 50 teams registered all to support Tatum Lester.
The girl went through a year of health problems, never really knowing what was wrong until late March.
Her mother, Lacie Lester, said doctors eventually found a tumor larger than a golfball in her brain.
Tatum was diagnosed with Medulloblastoma and days later underwent surgery.
“Just knowing that they found it in time, they got it out, and she is going to be okay,” Lacie Lester said.
All of the cancer was removed, but Tatum’s fight is far from over. She is going to have 15 to 16 months of radiation and chemotherapy.
For more than a month, she needs to see a doctor in Oklahoma City, quite a distance from Purcell. Her mother is now dedicating herself to full-time care for Tatum.
Friends heard about Tatum’s situation and created the tournament to raise money for the family. There were donations from a number of different businesses and individuals, including T-shirts, bracelets, food, and even the facility to play the games.
The words “Tatum’s Tribe” was written all over people’s shirts, and her number #23 painted on faces.
“It’s amazing. I’m just extremely touched. I’m just so proud. It makes my heart happy that people love her as much as we do,” Lacie Lester said.
On Saturday, Tatum threw the first pitch for her softball team. She isn’t able to play, but she watched her teammates as they won the game.
She said she is thankful. When News 9 asked her what she’s thankful for she said, “that everyone loves me.”
The tournament continues through Sunday. Donations can also be made to McClain Bank under Tatum’s Tribe.