Community Comes Together to Help Young Girl with Cancer Costs

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At first glance Amber Snell looks like the typical 14-year-old.
Her favorite hobbies are mud-riding, Nascar and of course...

"Shopping, shopping, that should be a sport. For real, you line people up with high heels and see who can buy the most. It would be the best sport in the whole world," says Snell.

But Amber hasn't had much time to enjoy her hobbies since August 17, 2009, the day she was diagnosed with "Osteosarcoma."

"It's bone cancer."

The news came as Amber was starting her freshman year of high school and her mom was transitioning into a new job.
Now they spend all of their time driving to Shands' hospital in Gainesville for chemo-treatments.

"Since the third week of August, we've been back-to-forth to Shands."

Amber's mom, Lisa, is too emotional to talk on camera, but says she now owes more than 200-thousand dollars in bills related to her daughter's treatment.

"It's such a financial burden on them having to drive to Gainesville and back, once you get down there you have to stay in motels, gas and the parents not being able to work during those times but they still have bills," says Donnie Branch, Jackson Co. Under-Sheriff.

Members of the Jackson County Sheriff's Office are partnering with local churches to help raise money for amber's medical needs.
They're hosting a barbecue benefit.

"We all have children and they're living a nightmare that most of us don't want to have to happen but things like this happen."

There is a silver lining.

Amber says this crisis has brought her and her mother closer together, giving her a different perspective on life.

"It could always be worse. Things happen in life and when they happen, you take what they give you and make the best out of it."

Amber is back in Gainesville next week for more chemo, then surgery on November 17th.

Tickets for the barbecue benefit are still available at the Jackson County Sheriff's Office. And there's a benefit account in Amber's name at the Regions Bank in Marianna.

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