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Local girl continues cancer recovery

Jake Old • Jul 3, 2017 at 11:06 AM

Savannah Marlow, a local 5-year-old girl who was diagnosed with a form of cancer called medulloblastoma last year, continues to fight.

According to her family, Savannah’s schedule was packed lately. The family recently returned from a Make-A-Wish Foundation trip overseas, Savannah continues in therapy, and July 28, she will turn 6 years old.

“Her outlook from here out is positive,” said Scott Marlow, Savannah’s father, via email. “We go to have a cerebrospinal MRI once every three months for the next five years. If she remains clear each time, after five years, she’s basically cured. That’s what we’re believing and looking forward to.”

If she clears each test in the next five years, Savannah will be 10 years old when she is essentially cured.

“Until then, it’s a daily trusting walk of faith,” Scott Marlow said.

The family first noticed something was wrong back in October 2015. Savannah was losing her balance and falling down more often. She also had headaches, though as a young child, she didn’t understand how to convey to her parents that she had a headache.

Savannah was taken to a specialist, and a tumor 4 centimeters in diameter was discovered on the back of her brain in the cerebellum. She would go into surgery the next day to remove the tumor.

After this type of surgery, many patients have side effects, including a change in their mood or losing the ability to move or eat. Savannah maintained a sunny disposition, though she did experience some of the other effects, including vision trouble.

After the surgery, Savannah would need to undergo proton radiation therapy in Boston, which lasted several weeks. Upon returning to Middle Tennessee, she underwent chemotherapy treatment through April.

In January 2016, Scott Marlow and Joann Marlow, Scott’s wife and Savannah’s mother, started a Facebook page called “Savannah’s Faith.” From there, they updated interested community members on Savannah’s health. They also sent and continue to send prayer requests.

The name of the Facebook page “Savannah’s Faith” has two meanings, the faith in Savannah’s ability to recover, and her middle name, which is Faith. The page now has more than 3,500 likes.”

The family recently returned from a Make-A-Wish trip on a Disney cruise ship through the Norwegian fjords. They also spent a week on their own in Scotland before the trip and a few days in New York City afterward. Savannah’s wish was to see Elsa and Anna from “Frozen” in their own territory.

According to a post the family made on the Savannah’s Faith page on Facebook, the trip was a total of 26 days, including eight days in Scotland, three days in Denmark, one day in Sweden, seven days in Norway and four in New York City.

“Savannah continues to go to therapy, and she is slowly, slowly improving in speech and coordination,” Scott Marlow said.

The family remains inspired by the support from the community and the generosity of others – particularly when Savannah needed blood transfusions on a few occasions during her chemotherapy treatments – they decided to pay it forward.

On Wednesday, the family and Brandy Tomlinson with he Journey Church will hold a blood drive at the church. The needed total of 130 people has already registered for the blood drive.

For more information about Savannah’s journey, visit facebook.com/savannahsfaith. 

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