PEORIA, Ill. — “I’m just a fighter I guess, just gonna keep fighting through this,” said Karlee Higgins, eight months ago from her hospital bed at OSF Saint Francis Medical Center in Peoria.
Friday, Higgins rang the bell in the St. Jude Clinic to signify reaching her long-awaited end-of-treatment.
“She said you’re gonna ring that bell at the end of this and I’ll never forget her saying that to me so just ringing that was just like wow… I did it,” said Higgins.
A picture perfect ending to a journey that was far from picture perfect. In October, WMBD introduced you to Karlee: a girl from Washington that had her life flipped upside down after being diagnosed with leukemia.
“Eight months in the hospital is a long time to visit your child- it becomes part of your daily routine,” said Aaron Higgins, Karlee’s father.
And ringing that bell at the end seemed like an eternity away.
“When we hear the diagnosis in the beginning, a different kind of bell goes off in your head and brings a different kind of emotion at that time,” said Aaron Higgins.
Friends, family, staff, and even the Mayor of Washington Gary Manier and Police Chief Mike McCoy were there to support Karlee. And two weeks ago, she celebrated her release with country star Carrie Underwood by getting the chance to meet her backstage.
So since being in remission, Karlee’s dad says it’s been all about “just enjoying life- lots of experiences to come and it can only get better from here.”
Lots more experiences to come- Just happier tears moving forward.
“Life’s short. Anything can happen. Live each day like it’s your last,” said Higgins.
If you’d like to continue to follow Karlee’s journey, you can follow her Facebook page Fight for Karlee.