CHAMPAIGN, Ill. (WAND) - An 8-year-old girl has spent the majority of her time in the hospital after being diagnosed with cancer.
Her name is Aminah Helmick, and she goes to school at Barkstall Elementary School. Her diagnosis came in 2015, when she was four.
"We went trick-or-treating in 2015 and she woke up complaining of her stomach hurting. She used the restroom and there was blood," said her mother, Maryam Ar-Raheem.
She said it took a while for doctors to find out what was wrong with her, but eventually they did.
"She was diagnosed with what is called Wilms tumor," she said.
It's a tumor that affects the kidneys and her lungs, but her lungs were fine.
After 12 weeks of chemotherapy, she had nephron sparing surgery on both kidneys to remove the tumors and was cleared in 2016.
However, life had other plans for Aminah. After a regular scan in 2019, doctors found that cancer had returned.
"She was in so much pain," her mother said.
Doctors had to remove her kidney on the right side of her body and she is just now finishing her chemotherapy.
Her mother said life has been difficult. Though she's healthy now, it has taken a financial toll on the family.
Aminah's mother is a single mother. She is temporarily unemployed as she meets her daughter's needs and recently lost her car.
On top of that, though the cancer is gone, the family still has to wait for Aminah to be added to the kidney transplant list.
Her mother is hopeful that sharing her story will encourage others to help in any way they can. For now, Aminah's mother is selling t-shirts in honor of her brave daughter.
A benefit is currently in the works for Aminah. WAND will update as more information becomes available.
To contact Aminah's mother, email email@example.com.