Mother of six-year-old Cheektowaga girl diagnosed with Leukemia blown away by community support: ‘We’re so grateful’

Local News

CHEEKTOWAGA, N.Y. (WIVB) — Members of the Western New York community are showing their support for a Cheektowaga family whose six-year-old daughter was recently diagnosed with cancer.

Tanya Culley’s world turned upside down last month when her her daughter Mya had a fever which ended up being something a lot more serious.

“After about a week of tests back and forth we got the diagnosis of Leukemia,” said Culley.

Mya just started receiving treatments at Oishei Children’s Hospital, which will last a few years.

“She has taught me so much in two weeks and taught me how to be strong. I can’t say she hasn’t had any tears, but they’re kid tears,” said Culley.

Through it all, Culley has been trying to keep up with texts, calls, and messages from concerned loved ones. She decided to post an update on social media to reach everyone at once.

“From there it kind of took off by storm, just friends and family reaching out and they’re the ones that took initiative and made the community aware.”

The family of Mya’s closest friend started a GoFundMe page.

The non-profit Smile Mail Inc. is one of the groups that caught wind of Mya’s story. They surprise people with packages in the mail by request. The person that request the package give the organization ideas of what to put inside. Anyone across the country can request a Smile Mail package.

The founder said they’re collecting donations for Mya’s package to be delivered sometime next week. Anyone interested in donating can head to their Facebook page or website for more information.

“Giving her the chance to smile is literally the definition of what we do. She probably doesn’t get mail all that often she’s six or seven years old, so the fact that we can send her some mail from members of our community is truly a remarkable experience,” the founder said.

He said they will be delivering Mya’s package in person.

Tanya said the prognosis is good but the road will be long and hard.

“She’s too little to understand it but someday she’s gonna understand how much everybody has pulled together for her.”

Mya will undergo treatments for the next three years but her mother says her life should go back to somewhat normal this coming spring, when she’ll be able to begin outpatient treatment.

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