Hamilton girl’s fight against cancer, community response featured on CBS Evening News

Eight-year-old Naomi Short is little, but the story of her battle against Stage 4 brain cancer stirred emotions of a large national audience Wednesday on the CBS Evening News.

The plucky girl won hearts in her hometown, including after she appeared at a Hamilton City Council meeting and showed her positive attitude toward beating cancer.

She will start chemotherapy probably in two or three weeks. Meanwhile, family members are conducting a toy drive for patients at Cincinnati Children’s Hospital Medical Center to keep their minds in a positive place.

After the national segmentaired on Wednesday, Petals & Wicks of Hamilton received so many online requests for her “Too Legit to Quit” fundraiser candle that its website was overwhelmed, co-owner Sherry Hoskins said. Volunteers will help fill about 200 orders.

“So many people from all over the country were trying to buy those candles that the candle store, their web site started to crash,” Naomi’s mother, Melissa Short, said with a laugh.

Doctors have told Naomi’s family her chances of survival are 30 percent.

“Her form of cancer only makes up 0.1 percent of all childhood cancer,” Melissa Short said. “That’s how rare it is.”

The unicorn-loving girl will receive a treat in a week, when the Butler County Sheriff’s Office will send a white horse, decorated as a unicorn, to her house, she said.

She was scheduled to undergo an MRI this morning. Her doctors next week will decide when chemotherapy should start.

“We try and stay busy, trying to find some things to do to make memories with her, and trying to stay involved with this toy drive, and trying to think of other fundraisers that we can do after the toy drive, that we can keep ourselves busy with, just to try and keep our minds off of it,” Melissa Short said. “That way we can try and think more on the positive side, instead of the negative side of it.”

“We’ve got a good little collection of toys so far,” her mother said. “We’ve got a lot more coming.”

Fairfield Pub and other bars there this weekend will be doing a pub-crawl fundraiser for Naomi’s family, and will have barrels where people can place toy donations. Because of germ concerns of patients, toys must be in their sealed factory packaging. Details about the toy drive are on her Facebook page, Naomi’s Fight: Naomi Strong.

“She knows that once chemo starts, she’s going to have a really rough way to go,” Melissa Short said Thursday. “She knows she has to do it, but of course, the closer it gets, the more scared and nervous she’s getting, and her anxiety’s starting to kick in with it.”

“I’m just proud to be a Hamiltonian,” Hoskins said. “Proud of our city and how people have rallied around this girl, around her family.”

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