Community rallies around Spencer

Published 10:29 pm Wednesday, May 31, 2017

When faced with a surprising cancer diagnosis in March, Emily Spencer chose to fight the aggressive disease and not to give up.

Emily, a former LaGrange High graduate, took her five-year-old-son Micah’s advice. She decided to “Fight like ninja.” The battle cry is a tribute to Micah’s favorite cartoon characters, the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles. It also adorns t-shirts worn by all of Emily’s family and friends as she fights Acute Myeloid Leukemia – or AML.

When the 29-year-old woman was diagnosed, her white blood cell count was 80,000. A healthy person’s WBC registers between 4,000 and 10,000.

Emily’s cancer was so aggressive, it caused her blood to stop clotting. She had no platelets and fluid was building on her lungs. Doctors told her the cancer was considered “high risk.” That meant despite countless rounds of chemotherapy and other treatments, she may never achieve remission.

A bone marrow transplant is her best chance at survival.  Despite those odds and the huge battle in front of her, Emily chooses life and does it with a huge smile on her face and enthusiasm in her voice.

She adores her husband John, Micah, 18-month-old daughter Tatum Jayne and the girls she cares for at the Eagle Ranch in Flowery Branch.  In typical LaGrange fashion, the community showed their love for Emily earlier this month during a “Be the Match” event.

More than 87 people showed up and signed up for the bone marrow donor registry list, Emily said. That group included LPD officers, staff, West Point firefighters, several first responders and total strangers.

The event was hosted by Emily’s dad, Frank Smith, a technical coordinator with the LaGrange Police Department and her brother, Zac Smith, who works for the West Point Fire Department and AMR.

Even without those community connections, we have no doubt dozens of folks still would have turned out to help someone in need.  The community is always so quick to give a dollar, lend a helping hand and now donate precious tissue that will give someone a second chance at life.

It’s awe inspiring and a blessing to know we live in an area that helps people first and asks questions later.

We hope to write more stories like Emily’s and find those unsung heroes to say, ‘Thank you.”