Pauls Valley, OK, Pauls Valley Democrat

April 22, 2014

Community rallying around teen

Ezra Mann
Pauls Valley Democrat — Waging a war against cancer has always included support not just for those afflicted, but for loved ones impacted by the disease.

Such a battle has been going on for at least a couple of months for Pauls Valley sophomore Abigail Gamble.

The 15-year-old is battling Acute Myeloid Leukemia.

Abigail’s mom, Michelle Coffey Gamble, has been by her side a majority of the time. She has been staying at the OK Kids Coral for family of kids who have cancer.

“Our community has just pulled together in a remarkable way,” said Michelle Gamble. “I’m just overwhelmed with everything… I can’t even remember all the things they are doing.”

Abigail has been on a roller coaster ride with her health since she was paralyzed on her right side. Not knowing what was wrong, it was diagnosed as something more minor. After paralysis set in on both sides of her body, they knew it was something much more severe.

“We knew we weren’t dealing with something normal,” said Gamble, noting how at the worst point her kidneys started failing. “Then she had lot more symptoms that came on fast… she needed to get treatment quick.”

Abigail was admitted to Children’s Hospital in March where she was diagnosed with the disease. She then began a regimen of 10 days of chemotherapy.

However, despite these struggles she has made what is a remarkable recovery so far. While she is still unable to speak, she can communicate. There is currently no trace of leukemia cells from recent bone marrow tests.

“She knows people are there and understands what is going on,” said Gamble. “She’s been making remarkable improvements.”

The first cause to help the family was a softball tournament this past weekend at the PV Sports Complex. Twelve teams from all over southern Oklahoma participated, raising over $4,500.

A blood drive is set for today from 2 to 6 p.m. at the First Baptist Church fellowship hall here in town. This will raise blood donation credits for the family and each person who donates gets donor rewards points.

This is followed by a spaghetti lunch on Sunday, April 27 at the Garvin County Fairgrounds from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. The cost of that is $8 for pasta, bread and a dessert and will include a silent auction.

There is an account set up at Pauls Valley National Bank for donations.

It has been a collaborative effort by friends and other members of the community. That something Michelle deeply appreciates from a town she has lived in most of her life.

Abigail’s prognosis includes 4 to 5 months continued treatment in the hospital. During that time she will have chemo each week.

“She has such strength, she’s such a fighter,” said Gamble. “All the doctors and nurses are pleased with her progress.”