When Jordyn Boucher was given just weeks to live, her mother never imagined that only a few years later, her little girl would be doing pushups, hip-hop dancing, and boxing with dozens of other kids to raise money for cancer research.
But that's exactly what the 11-year-old girl from Brentwood, N.H., will be doing this Saturday when she takes the stage at Lowell Memorial Auditorium for "Fitness for a Cure," an annual fundraiser to support St. Jude Children's Research Hospital.
"I get chills watching her," says Fitness for a Cure founder Sherri Sarouf of North Andover. "I feel like I have the miracle kid on the team."
According to Jordyn's mother, Tracey Sukduang, her daughter is, indeed, a walking miracle. Jordyn had been fighting leukemia since she was 15 months old, enduring chemotherapy, a bone marrow transplant and several relapses. Then, in November 2009, Jordyn's mom and dad heard the news that every parent dreads: that their 8-year-old daughter's chances for survival had run out.
"We were told that Jordyn's cancer was no longer going into remission, and our best option was to take her home and to give her the best quality of life that she had left, which at this time was only 4 to 6 weeks because she was just so compacted with cancer," her mom remembers. "We just felt inside of us that how can we just sit here and watch our little girl melt away? She was at this point home on hospice, she was no longer wanting to eat, wanting to drink, couldn't do stairs anymore."
But Tracey Sukduang remembers something else about those harrowing days at home: The St. Jude commercials that seemed to always appear on television whenever she walked into the TV room.
"My daughter had fought at this point for eight years," she says. "Why couldn't the hope be given to her?"