PHILADELPHIA (CBS) — When Paige LaRosa was 11, she was diagnosed with ovarian cancer.
September is Ovarian Cancer Awareness Month and the cancer is known as the silent killer because it’s difficult to find. It usually strikes older women or those with a family history, so imagine the shock when a family from Warrington Township in Bucks County, Pennsylvania learned their young child had it.
“It was crazy, I just like couldn’t believe it,” Paige, now 14, said. “They told me it was rare and like woah, like I kind of felt special and at the same time I was like blown away.”
Her symptoms included no appetite and fatigue but those were vague but typical with ovarian cancer despite being rare in children.
Paige’s mother knew doctors were wrong when they kept insisting it was just constipation.
“It was just, I couldn’t even believe it,” Paige’s mom, Julie, said about finding out the news her daughter had ovarian cancer. “I kept thinking we’ve gotta be dreaming.”
It was a nightmare as Paige had surgery and chemo and doctors said her eggs couldn’t be saved, so she’ll never be able to have biological children.
“I told the doctors I wanted her alive; we’ll worry about having babies another time,” Julie said. “And when I told her, she just said, ‘Oh, I’ll adopt.’ That wasn’t even an issue.”
Paige is battling her ovarian cancer with a positive attitude.
“I was just like alright, I got this I can do this,” Paige said.
And now three years later, the honor student has an unexpected gift from the chemo, full, wavy hair.
“Before it was poker straight,” Paige said.
Paige’s portrait is now on display at the Estate Boutique in Doylestown.
Owner, Brittany McGinley has a display of ovarian cancer survivors in the window that includes her mother.
“I really want to raise awareness about disease and symptoms,” McGingley said. “We as women get so busy, we write off mild symptoms like bloating , fatigue abdominal pain as something else.”
McGingley is donating 10 percent of September sales to ovarian cancer research.
As for Paige, who’s now cancer free, she’s back to being busy with school and sports.
Paige is also on the National Junior Honor Society. She says she wants to eventually be a surgeon or chemist, so she can help other cancer patients.