ABILENE, Texas (KRBC) – Since being diagnosed with synovial sarcoma in August of 2018, Abilene third grade student, Ciara Husing had not gone back to school.
This long streak changed Monday morning, as she attended her school at Allie Ward Elementary for the first time since treatment.
The 9-year-old is now a cancer survivor and returned to school with a little help from a few friends.
In the hopes of collecting cards for Ciara’s big day, her mother McKenzie took to Facebook and was requesting people to make cards for Ciara. Tye Police Department Chief Jay Strong noticed the post and reached out to Husing.
“How about we can do one better and we contact local law enforcement. We provide an escort for her to ride to school and into school,” Chief Strong recalls.
Chief Strong reached out to his colleagues and other departments in Taylor County, racking up people from the Taylor County Sheriff’s Office, Merkel Police Department, Tye Police Department, Abilene Police Department and fire departments.
“They were all like, ‘We’re in. We’re in,'” Chief Strong says.
Dyess Air Force Base personnel were also in attendence, thanks to Ciara’s wish granters who are in the military.
Each hero held a single pink carnation and a warm smile to hand to Ciara when she entered Ward Elementary on the below-freezing Monday.
“I asked Ciara’s dad and mom what her favorite flower was and she said they don’t have one, but her dad calls her ‘Pinky,’ so went and got pink carnations,” Chief Strong explained with a smile. “When we met her at the door, the first thing that she said was ‘Hola.'”
Chief Strong explained that he was amazed by how positive Ciara has remained throughout her journey and finds it inspiring.
“Her classroom has supported her this whole way. They have this little monkey that sits in her chair because that’s her favorite animal that’s in her place,” he explained. “The support that these kids have given each other is just truly amazing.”
The heroes, students, teachers and staff lined the hallways, while Ciara made her grand enterance, grinning cheek to cheek.
“As a mom, speechless, really,” Ciara’s mother, McKenzie Husing said. “She woke up… before the alarms went off this morning, ‘Mom, it’s time to get up. It’s time to get ready. I gotta go back to school today.'”
Husing, her mother, her sister, and Mrs. Velasquez stayed up on Friday at Ward Elementary to decorate the halls with balloons, yellow ribbons and signs.
“My heart kind of went out to say, ‘You know, it’s cold outside, but if this little girl can battle this, then we should be able to be out here and welcome her as a hero’s welcome, because she’s a true hero,” Chief Strong said.
Ciara had been battling synovial sarcoma for 290 days, her mother explained. She underwent surgery to remove a tumor on her knee and had to use a wheelchair.
“No cancer. She’s walking, obviously. She’s no longer in a wheelchair. She’s doing great. She’s healing. She still can’t do everything she wants to do yet,” Mrs. Husing said.
Mrs. Husing looks back on one heck of a journey that stemmed from a tiny lump on her daughter’s leg.
“It’s a moment that you begged for and prayed for in the beginning and then when it gets here, it just doesn’t seem real,” Husing said. “It just sent that message to Ciara, all these kids and it lets Ciara know, ‘I wasn’t in this alone. I’m never going to be in this alone because I have all of these people with me and it started with little kids.'”
As Rachel Patten’s “fight song” played in the background of Ciara’s walk, it reminded Ciara and her family how she strong she really is.
“Seeing your kid go through what she’s gone through, and to come out of it like this, on top, I mean, she did. She fought it and look at where she’s at,” Mrs. Husing said. This kid has been wanting to come to school. She has missed being here so much.”
The celebrations continue this week, as Ciara heads to Dallas on Thursday, where she will be attending the Dallas Stars game.
The cancer survivor was one of 12 kids to be selected to be a part of “Klinger Kids“, a foundation for children who are battling cancer or life-threatening illnesses.