CAMP HILL, Pa. -- Supported by arm braces, parents, and her best friend, Lily Jordan walks out of Camp Hill Middle School laughing, just like any 13-year old would.
Thursday was her first day back in class in five months, and the 7th grader received a folder of gifts from her friends: hand-drawn pictures, a "stress cantaloupe" given to her by her teacher, and a Harry Potter-themed poem.
When Lily gets home, she gets nearly tackled by her dog, Gunner, jumping up and down in the front yard while Lily balances on her crutches and right leg.
Today is one of the good days.
"Everybody starts treating you differently," Lily says. "As soon as I had it, the amputation, it made life so much harder for me."
Lily had her left leg amputated in October, the result of having Osteosarcoma. She was diagnosed July 10.
"Amputation and chemo has pretty much been my life. I've had a couple infections," she said. "I wouldn’t wish it on anybody. I wouldn’t wish it upon my worst enemy."
However, Lily not only survives, she thrives, thanks to an incredible sense of humor ("I've always liked making people laugh," she says, "And during chemo, my friend Sean told me 'Find something you love and hold onto it.") and an even greater support staff. Seemingly every telephone pole or light post in Camp Hill has a purple ribbon attached to it, a symbol of support for "Team Lily."
"We can barely drive a block without seeing ribbons on at least 3 doors," Lily's mom Lecia says. "This community has just lifted us up."
This weekend, Team Lily will take its fight to Penn State University and THON. While Lily was undergoing chemotherapy at Penn State Hershey, she was approached by the Four Diamonds Fund about participating in Penn State's annual dance marathon. She was partnered with Penn State's crossfit club, which is sponsoring her during the 46-hour event.
"I'm so excited. It's going to be awesome!" Lily exclaims.
Most importantly, going to THON will allow Lily Jordan to do what she hasn't had much of a chance to do for the last seven months: Be a "normal" kid.
"I say normal, but was I normal before? No, I was a little bit of a weirdo," Lily says. "But in a good way!"