STOW, OH (WOIO) - A Stow girl battling cancer wants to give back to the hospital helping her.
"No kid wants to have cancer. I mean, you don't want to be little and think, like, 'I want to have cancer.' Like, no one wants that," Leah says in a sweet voice.
Back in December 2012, 11-year-old Leah Merriman learned she had an inoperable tumor in her brain stem. After a major surgery at the age of 8, she began a year of chemotherapy. Now she is undergoing her second year of chemotherapy.
"I just thought that, like, adults had it. I never really, like, knew that kids could have it. And it was really scary when I found out," says Leah.
Leah and her family want to raise awareness of childhood cancers through an online T-shirt fundraiser to benefit Akron Children's Hospital, where Leah has her treatments.
"There are some families who have to relocate or separate the family so their children can get care. So we feel very lucky to have Akron Children's Hospital so close to us," says Leah's mother, Gina.
The motto "BraveStrongGirl" is all Leah.
"I've gone through a lot, like, a lot of poke and a lot of doctors appointments. So 'BraveStrongGirl,' like, kind of like representing me," Leah explains.
Over the past two weeks, more than 600 "BraveStrongGirl" shirts were sold and more than $10,000 was raised. Leah's original goal was $4,000. Since the T-shirts were so popular, the Merrimans have extended the sale another seven days until Aug. 23.
The shirts start at $16.50 and $8 of every T-shirt goes towards the Akron Children's Hospital Neuro-Oncology Fund.
You can follow Leah's journey through her blog.