16-year-old girl uses cancer diagnosis to help others

Carrie Turner was diagnosed with Leukemia at age 16 - and has used her illness to help others cope

/ Colby Gallagher

Carrie Turner is just like any other 16 year old. She enjoys make-up, cheerleading and drama club - but in November of 2011, her life changed when she was diagnosed with Leukemia.

"The first thing I thought of was I was going to lose my hair because I'd worked so hard to grow it out to where it was down my back. Then I realized that that was the least of my worries," said Carrie.

Carrie said she knew at that point she needed to help her family get through it.

"When Carrie was first diagnosed, I really looked at the doctor and thought 'not my daughter' but it happens every day," said her mother, Edwina.

In fact, it happens to 36 children every day in the United States - something that Carrie's seen directly through her experiences meeting other childhood cancer patients. Although the diagnosis was a shock for the Turner family, they decided to fight back and not let the cancer define Carrie's life.

The Turner's took this experience and have used to it help support other families in similar situations -- because of her selfless actions helping other young cancer patients Carrie's now known as the 'big sister' around the hospital.

"We've been able to help them understand that they're not alone in this. Whereas we thought we were all alone, but we really were not," said Edwina.

With a nearly 90% survival rate for Carrie's particular type of Leukemia and plenty of success stories from other patients, she chose to live her life as normally as possible - and that includes Friday night football.

"It makes me forget I have cancer. On Friday nights, standing on the sidelines cheering on my boys, I can just completely forget that I don't have any hair, I can forget about my port, and I can forget about everything," said Carrie.

For more information on an upcoming fundraiser that benefits Carrie while honoring September as Childhood Cancer Awareness Month, visit the event's Facebook page.