Bubbly, vibrant 5-year-old battles Leukemia

Posted at 9:01 PM, Dec 10, 2015
and last updated 2015-12-10 22:01:07-05

Elizabeth Handrich is a vibrant, bubbly 5-year-old.

"My pillow pet is an elephant!"

You would never know she is being treated for Leukemia.

"And he stomps, stomps, stomps."

She was diagnosed in August.

"We went to a party and she didn't want to run through the sprinkler, and at that point in time I was like, OK, this is real pain because otherwise she would be running through the sprinkler," said Elizabeth's mom, Martha.

They rushed her to Children's Hospital and within two hours learned Elizabeth had Leukemia.

"She had the most common version-- one of the more treatable, curable versions as well," said Elizabeth's dad, Paul. "There's never a blanket guarantee they're going to give you to say, 'We're absolutely certain that X, Y or Z is going to happen,' but they said a couple of things that made us feel very good."

The first round of chemotherapy knocked out her immune system, and then she got an infection. But she has had almost no issue since.

She loves going to 4K, and she is very close to big sister Rachel.

"They support each other in ways that are phenomenal as a 5 and 6-year-old," said Martha. "I can't imagine having to have those emotions and that relationship at such a young age, and they do."

They are sisters with a soft spot for one another. Martha said, "Rachel even said to me the other day, she said, 'Mom, Elizabeth shares so much with all of us can we go to the store and buy something that's just for her?'"

Elizabeth still makes regular trips to Children's. Her Beads of Courage represent the treatments she has had. The rainbows are for physical therapy where she walks, runs, jumps and bends over. When she's feeling good, she goes to gymnastics.

Even though she is still being treated for Leukemia, her constant, upbeat personality puts it all into perspective.

"I'm so thankful she's not only our child, but that she gives us the energy to say, Hey, if she can go through this, what are we complaining about?" said Paul.

In the short time since her diagnosis, the Handrichs have already experienced the incredible impact of the MACC Fund. "Knowing Elizabeth is just one of so many kids who've been able to get through a tremendously difficult process that without this type of support and this type of backing would be tremendously more difficult," Paul said.

You can join the fight against childhood cancers and blood disorders. Tune in to TODAY'S TMJ4 for the annual Sports Auction 4 MACC. It is Friday, December 11, 2015 from 3:00-5:00pm. There will be 25 sports-related memorabilia up for bid.