15 and fighting for her life, community helps soccer star fight cancer

The young athlete is fighting cancer, and she's getting a lot of support from her family and friends.

Jadyn Barrera is naturally soft-spoken, but on the field, she's a fighter.

“I miss playing really bad," Barrera said.

She plays on her high school soccer team at Robinson High in Tampa and for a club league. 

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"She was great at school but she loved playing soccer. She said I was ready, I was conditioned. I was ready for this year,” said Jill Barrera, Jadyn’s mom.

Now Jadyn is using her competitive spirit in the fight for her life.

"We thought she had a stomach virus," her mom said. "She came home and wouldn't stop vomiting."

She was diagnosed with Non-Hodgkin's Lymphoma. Treatment started two weeks later.

Jadyn said the hardest part was losing her hair.

“I was crying a lot. I'd wake up and see it on the pillow. Just strands of hair. Then after my second surgery, I had a big bald spot and I told my mom I wanted to shave it."

She now wears a colorful cap, and feels most comfortable in a hoodie. While she can't physically play soccer, she's there in spirit. Her number 3 is painted on the field, and at each game a different teammate wears her jersey.

Jadyn’s mom said she’s overwhelmed by all the support.

“It’s incredible to see the support at her school, from teachers, to coaches, classmates, even other athletes. She has friends on the football team who wear tape on their arms with her initials, JB on it. The businesses and community coming together for my family. It means a lot,” Jill said.

Of the past 60 days, Jadyn spent 52 in the hospital. Jaydn’s mom is a pediatric nurse and actually took up nursing as a second career. She worked alongside the same people now taking care of her child.

Since the diagnosis, Jaydn’s mom has stopped working.

“To be able to take care of her in that way is truly a blessing from God I think. I sleep when she sleeps, and eat when she eats or don't eat when she can't eat."

Jaydn's goal is to one day play soccer at the University of Miami. In the meantime, she hopes to finish treatments before her 16th birthday in March.

That would give her enough time to regain strength to hit the field again next soccer season.

"I believe this is only going to make her stronger. Yes, it's changing her life now but its only temporary,” said Jocelyn Barrera, Jadyn's sister.

With increasing medical costs, a family friend created a GoFundMe page for the Barreras. If you’d like to donate, click here. https://www.gofundme.com/jadynstrong

© 2018 WTSP-TV


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