Community raises money for girl with rare thyroid cancer

PALM BEACH COUNTY, FL (WFLX) - A Wellington woman is taking a step forward in the health battle of her life, fighting a rare form of thyroid cancer.

The surgery that Shana Sasko, 20, just went through was invasive, to say the least. "Now, it just extends all the way up to my ear," she said of the scar that begins at her throat.

The full neck dissection was done on April 11 to remove dozens of lymph nodes and any remaining thyroid cancer from Shana's body. Even with that procedure, this fight for her health is not over.

On Tuesday, the Sasko family finally took a break - a much-needed break - from the countless medical tests and treatments to go out for dinner. It may sound simple, but it is something that this family has not been able to do together for a while.

"It's actually hard. It's very difficult to keep it together," said Adrienne Sasko, Shana's mother, who tries her best to focus on the fact that Shana is alive and feeling well. "She's my child and I see her suffer and I can't fix this," said Adrienne.

Shana has had a brave face the whole time. "It's a long road but I'm working on it," she said.

Shana, who has dedicated much of her life to charitable causes in her community, has the needed help in recent months.

From fundraisers to silent auctions and from hand-written notes to prayers, all of it, she says, makes a difference. "People come up to me and they tell me how much of an inspiration I am and it's the most bizarre thing," said Shana. "But it's really nice."

Knocked down by a rare form of cancer and by surgeries, radiation and the emotional toll of it all, this family still looks to the future. "We want her to go back to school," said Derf Sasko, Shana's father. "We want her to graduate. She has plans."

A silent auction held at Sunset Bar & Grill in West Palm Beach on Tuesday night helped raise money for mounting medical bills. Family, friends and strangers helped to bring in nearly $3,000.

To learn more about Shana's story, click here .

To learn more about Dr. Anna Frisch who diagnosed Shana, click here.