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Great Falls

Feb 20, 2012 9:39 PM by Erin Schermele (Great Falls)

Great Falls baby battles cancer

Trials and tribulations are expected whenever parents prepare to welcome a new addition, but for Ryan and Justine Marchion of Great Falls, obstacles came their way within hours of welcoming their daughter into the world.

Just hours after Justine Marchion gave birth to Austyn Mae, the two were airlifted to a hospital in Seattle.

Justine explained, "Cancer was the furthest thing from my mind, they said swelling and I didn't think much about it."

After a week of tests, Austyn was diagnosed with infantile fibrosarcoma, an extremely rare tumor diagnosed only 5 to 10 times a year.

But to be born with the cancer is even more rare; according to Austyn's doctor, she may be the only case in the country this year.

Justine noted, "I think I ran on adrenaline for the first month of my child's life. Because you have to be there as a mom, but still have all of that in the back of your mind."

But despite how rare the cancer is, there is a high chemotherapy success rate.

Justine said, "It was the best worst news that we could have got. It's treatable, its curable."

While Austyn is undergoing her chemo treatments in Seattle, her family in Montana is trying to cope with the situation.

Grandfather Jim Edwards said, "Nobody knew what to do, everybody just kind of looked at each other for answers, nobody had any."

So family and friends are focusing on a benefit for the young couple to help ease their financial burden.

Grandmother Roxie Edwards said, "They have bills here, they have bills there, and you know once you have to deal with something like this, I don't want our kids to come home to be financially ruined forever."

Austyn will continue chemotherapy until the tumor gets small enough to be surgically removed; the couple is hoping to take their daughter her home within 8 weeks.

Justine said, "All things considered she has done very very well. She hasn't really gotten sick. Starting to lose a little hair on the top, but I figured it's a good time in life to lose all your hair."

Ryan said, "She is such an inspiration and truly a little fighter in style."

The Marchions say as challenging as this situation has been, they are grateful to come from communities that continue to send love and support.

The Austyn Mae Benefit Auction is March 3rd at the Great Falls Civic Center; the event begins at 5:30 p.m. and will include dinner, live auction, raffle, and live music. Tickets are $25.

For more information about the event, call Ember Edwards Briles at (406) 799-5776, Anna Horton at (406) 781-6083, or Deb LeVeaux at (406) 799-5423.

Learn more at AustynMae.com.

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