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Atlanta RMHC House Helps Alleviate Worry for the Keene Family

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Twelve years ago, Olivia Keene complained of a strange pain in the center of her left leg. After a series of tests, there were no answers. For six years, Olivia visited different doctors, had X-rays and physical therapy, eventually visiting a children’s hospital near her home in Alabama, where she had surgery to relieve the pain and discomfort.

For Olivia, life returned to normal. She was able to join her school tennis team and earn her first varsity letter. However, a few months later, Olivia began to experience severe pain in her right leg and had difficulty walking. She headed back to the doctors for answers.

In January 2018, Olivia and her mother, Stacey, came to Children’s Healthcare of Atlanta. Olivia was diagnosed with fibular hemimelia, a birth defect where part or all of the fibular bone is missing. The disorder is rare, affecting 1 in 40,000 births.

Six months later, Olivia returned to Children’s for an MRI, which showed a fluid filled mass inside her leg. After multiple biopsies and tests, she was diagnosed with synovial cell sarcoma, a rare type of cancer that affects soft tissues primarily in an extremity.

Since December 2018, the Keene family has stayed at our House near Egleston for 63 nights while Olivia received her cancer treatment.

“I love how comfortable it is and how we can make the room like home,” Olivia says. “Coming from such an uncertain environment into a safe and ‘homey’ place is huge.”

Staying at the House near Egleston meant Olivia’s grandma didn’t have to worry.

“The Ronald McDonald House is very practical,” Stacey Keene said. “Just being able to make scrambled eggs for breakfast is so simple, but makes a big difference.”

On April 23, Olivia rang the bell, exclaiming “I won!” to celebrate finishing her cancer treatment.

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