October 17, 2021

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Fit And Go Forward

Family discovers 13-year-old daughter has leukemia following COVID-19 diagnosis

HORRY COUNTY, S.C. (WMBF) – A South Carolina family is calling it a nightmare come true. Their 13-year-old daughter is not only battling COVID-19 but now also leukemia.

Ariel Griffith, a student at Ocean Bay Middle School, is described by her mother Lauren as the best daughter, sister, niece and granddaughter.

However, Ariel’s life has taken a heartbreaking turn in just the last few days.

Lauren said her 13-year-old has lived a happy and healthy life but recently started having issues catching her breath. They took her to Grand Strand Medical Center hospital where she was treated for COVID-19.

Lauren has posted daily updates on Ariel’s condition which has included nausea, fever, pneumonia and what she calls “excruciating pain all day long.”

Ariel was given the green light to be transferred to the Medical University of South Carolina in Charleston, where specialists got straight to work to figure out what was wrong with her.

On Thursday, Ariel was placed in the intensive care unit, where she was put on a ventilator and more tests were done. Then, Lauren was given the news that no parent wants to hear: her daughter has leukemia.

“The news took the breath straight from my lungs. Our hearts are in pieces but I am searching for small miracles and I have found them – they are all around us. Was COVID the blessing to reveal the real issue? Look at the support of our wonderful community and afar. She’s in the best place possible where they can take the best care of our girl,” Lauren wrote in a Facebook post.

Ariel started her chemotherapy on Friday and is expected to stay at MUSC for at least the next month.

Lauren’s sister-in-law started a GoFundMe account to help pay for medical expenses. Lauren said that above all they are just asking for prayers, love and support, which Lauren said they’ve been getting a lot of over the past week.

“I am floored that everybody cares so much. It helps take away some of the pain to know you have this many people thinking about you,” Lauren said to WMBF News. “The word I like to use is gratitude. I am sad but this has helped me stay strong. We have people rallying and we feel with this many people fighting for her she has to win.”

Through the devastating news, Lauren continues to think of her daughter’s favorite movie “Annie” and says that the sun will come out tomorrow as the family continues to hold onto their faith that Ariel will get through it all.

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