Breaking News
More () »

'It will get worse before it gets better:' Community rallies around Warner Robins baby battling rare cancer

Hailey Holder's parents say their little girl will need more than a year of chemo treatments and that's just the start.

Blake and Hailey Allen couldn't wait to watch their little girl grow up.

"All I ever wanted was a little girl," said Blake.

They were excited to see little Hailey Holder experience all of her firsts: first steps, first words. The Warner Robins couple never imagined many of them would happen inside of a hospital.

"Our memory box looks a lot different than most other people's," said her mother Hailey.

In a pink and white box, she holds on to Hailey Holder's first outfit, tiny blood pressure cuffs, and her daughter's first lock of hair lost to chemo.

"It's just absolutely devastating," she said.

In May, Hailey's mother felt a lump in her daughter's leg.

At 1-year-old, Hailey Holder was diagnosed with Alveolar Rhabdomyosarcoma -- an extremely rare cancer than targets large muscle groups.

Hailey Holder is now 14-months-old, and by her second birthday, she will have spent more than half her life fighting for it.

"Her chemo treatment is 56 weeks," said her mother. "She has a concoction of seven chemo drugs, which they don't typically do on babies. Then, she'll have six weeks of radiation where we will live in Atlanta."

All of that will be followed by a lengthy maintenance program and a high risk the cancer could come back before she turns 10.

"I'm just hoping she hits all the milestones that everyone else gets," said Hailey Allen. "I hope we're still fighting this for 10 years because that means she's going to be here."

The family isn't in the fight alone, though. Hailey's mom started a blog called H2 Strong and shares every step of her daughter's journey.

"The thoughts and prayers and good wishes that we get flooded with every day, it really is uplifting," said Blake.

The support doesn't stop there. A GoFundMe page set up for the family raised nearly $23,000 within a month. That is on top of H2 Strong t-shirt sales, a golf tournament in August, and a 5K run/walk already set for November.

Hailey's parents say all of it brings them some relief, but more importantly, it gives them hope.

"I'm happy to take all of the bad as long as she's still here with us," said Hailey's mom. "I think that's what we're looking forward to is spending an insane amount of money on her wedding, or buying her first car, or sending her to whatever college she wants to go to because that means that we did it, she did it."

The Allens say they want to share their story to thank the community for all the support, but also to give comfort to other parents in knowing the resources to care for even a rare cancer like their daughter's are available in Central Georgia.

They also want to encourage parents to pay close attention to any changes they notice in their children. Early detection can make a big difference.

"It led me to push the doctor for that next scan," said Hailey's mom. "Had we waited, it could be the difference in us burying our daughter right now or going through chemo."

RELATED: A veteran needed help for his dog, and a community came to his rescue

RELATED: 9-year-old Atlanta Dream superfan brought to tears after receiving surprise from one of the players

RELATED: Home Depot workers build boy's walker out of PVC piping