Spartanburg County teen recovering from osteosarcoma shares her story

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SPARTANBURG, S.C. (WSPA) – A story of perseverance out of Spartanburg County. That is where a 14-year old girl is from who was diagnosed with osteosarcoma and it all started with what was believed to be a sports-related injury.

Emma June has been a part of her school’s color guard team. That includes a lot of marching, dancing and twirling flags. But that all changed when she thought she had hurt her knee.

“My right knee started getting really swollen and we thought it was like an ACL tear or a strain,” said 14-year old recovering from osteosarcoma, Emma June.

But it ended up being a diagnosis she and her family never suspected.

“They were waiting for the results of the biopsy to determine if it was osteosarcoma and once they did, they sent us to Greenville hospital,” June explained.

However, June’s doctor Aniket Saha told 7 News, believe it or not, that’s how osteosarcoma cases are typically detected.

“Osteosarcoma is one of the most common malignant bone tumors in children,” said Medical Director of BI-LO Charities Children’s Cancer Center, Dr. Aniket Saha.

Dr. Saha has been alongside Emma during this journey at Prisma’s BI-LO Charities Children’s Cancer Center in Greenville.

“I had my reconstructive surgery to take the tumor out but unfortunately that surgery didn’t work and there was still cancer in my knee so they had to go back a week later and do a full knee replacement,” said June.

Recovery hasn’t always been easy but June has been keeping her spirits high and already making huge progress in getting back on her feet.

On top of the surgeries, she has been undergoing chemotherapy. Something she told us has helped her through it all, hospital staff and her family.

“She started chemo in February, by March she was losing her hair so we decided to all do it together,” said Emma’s Mom, Jamie Kent.

Those are the people she has been spending a lot more time with during these recent months.

“I only go to the hospital and home, my family doesn’t leave unless it’s the grocery store or work,” June told us.

Being cautious is something Dr. Saha said is more important than ever for people with compromised immune systems like June. June’s mother is trying to spread awareness on the importance of taking extra health precautions, like washing your hands and wearing a mask for people with compromised immune systems, not only during the pandemic and flu season but all year round.

“We just really appreciate it when other people take necessary precautions to keep our loved ones safe and healthy, just because she doesn’t recover as fast as anybody else would,” Kent said.

As for the 14-year old, this whole experience has inspired her to shoot for a career in the medical field someday. For now, with only two chemo sessions left she has her eyes set on getting back to what she knows and loves, color guard.

“Hopefully by this summer, I can try out for fall season again,” June said.

Emma June’s last day of chemo is coming up very soon.

To keep up with her journey, you can follow the  #TeamEmmaJune Facebook page.

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