THOMASVILLE, Ga. (WTXL) — “I remember sitting there on the bed waiting for her to come back and looking down that hallway. I was like ‘Rhevana I don’t like this feeling’,” said Trey Mills.
That was the beginning of what would be a heartbreaking journey for the Mills Family. On Oct.7, 8-year-old Rhealynn Mills, Rhea for short, was diagnosed with osteosarcoma cancer, a bone cancer that begins in the cells that forms bones.
It was in April when Rhea was out playing softball and another player fell on top of her. In June, the Mills family found out Rhea would need a screw placed to help heal a fracture. 2 weeks later, things took a turn for the worst. In July, her parents noticed she couldn’t use her right leg. After many x-rays and MRI’s, Rhealynn was diagnosed with cancer. Shortly after in November, Rhealynn’s right leg was amputated to remove a tumor that formed.
Older brother Kale Mills says he was devastated when his parents told him the news.
“It was heartbreaking seeing her in the hospital bed. Sitting there, and I’m thinking why her? How did this happen,” said Kale Mills.
Soon after Rhealynn was diagnosed, the Thomas County community began to come out and support her in droves. Her former teacher Laurie Young, amongst others, help put together a softball tournament to help raise money, raising over $30,000 in just 3 days.
“This community has just rallied around her and is just such a village,” said Laurie Young.
Shirts, bows, jerseys, yard signs, and much more have been sold around the area all in support of Rhea.
“I’m really happy when I go down the road and see the yard signs,” said Rhealynn Mills.
When asked what makes a community quite like this one, people who live here simply say, it’s the Thomasville thing to do.
“It’s just part of the culture of our community. It’s a close-knit community. People look after each other here. It’s just a part of our culture,” said Forrest Horne.
The Mills family is overjoyed with the outpouring of prayers and support.
“They have a fight in them now just seeing Rhealynn so it’s nice to know that we can kind of give back through her,” said Rhevana Mills.