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“Your child has cancer.”

Four words no parent should ever have to hear, but it was the harsh reality for one Acushnet family after five-year-old Sydney Leandro was diagnosed with leukemia on Easter of this year. In a time of darkness, this unfortunate story brought to light what a simple act of kindness can do for a child’s spirit.

On Easter Sunday, Lyndsey Leandro rushed over to her crying daughter, Sydney, who took a tumble in their home and hit her head. After inconsolable crying all day, watching her fall asleep constantly, and after the whimpers of pain did not let up, Lyndsey knew it was time to bring Sydney to the doctor. Many hours later, Lyndsey and her husband were in a hospital room with a doctor informing them that their daughter has B-cell acute lymphoblastic leukemia.

Courtesy Lindsey Leandro

“I stared at the doctor for what felt like an eternity. His words echoed in my head," Lyndsey recalled. "And in seconds I was short of breath, sobbing.”

No one would have blamed Lyndsey and her husband, Adam, if they chose to shut the world out and wallow for a while – but Lyndsey refused.

Lyndsey dealt with demons in her past involving substances.

“In 2014, when that pregnancy test came back positive, I got clean. She saved my life," she said.

The next day after her daughter’s diagnosis, she said, “I went into overdrive. There was nothing that anyone could tell me, I was going to fight for my child.”

What happened next, she still cannot comprehend. Unbeknownst to her, members of her family got together and created a GoFundMe page for Sydney. Donations came pouring in, with over $52,000 raised over the past several months.

“I was overwhelmed with gratefulness,” Lyndsey said of when she saw the number of donations. “It brought us hope to everything going on. Strangers and people we haven’t spoken to in years were seeing her story and wanted to help. It brought us hope.”

Sydney is doing well and “has her moments,” as her mom put it, but is still fighting the battle against this blood disease.

At only five years old, Sydney is forced to grow up and deal with “big girl” things. My heart is heavy for the Leandro family, but seeing the smile on Sydney’s face brings me joy and hope for a better tomorrow for Sydney. She is certainly a strong and mighty little girl, and her strength inspires me to live out every day with a grateful and open heart.

If you would like to help Sydney and her family on her road to recovery, click here.

Courtesy Lindsey Leandro