At just three years old, Miley Pickell is full of personality. She loves dancing to Lady Gaga music, posing for pictures, and showing off her future home.
"She runs around and most of the time you don't even know she's sick," said her mother Andrea Carpenter. "Unless she's really not feeling good, she's up and bouncing off the walls all the time."
Miley was diagnosed with T-Cell lymphoblastic lymphoma, a cancer of the lymph nodes, in March of 201. Her parents, Carpenter and father Joseph Pickell, say she's been fighting it ever since.
"She's the toughest kid I know," said Carpenter. "I couldn't go through half of what she goes through."
The quality of the subsidized housing the family lives in hasn't made their journey any easier. In fact, it may have even contributed to Miley's illness. The family says an inspection of the home turned up a specific type of mold doctors often link to T-cell lymphoma. That's when Jackson realtor Gena Foster stepped in.
Foster met Miley's family at a cancer fundraiser last fall, and has since become a close family friend. She convinced Wells Fargo to donate a home in Jackson to Miley's family through the charity Angels Of Hope, a non-profit family cancer foundation.
"We deal with a lot of foreclosures," said Foster. "And to see how people are so devastated with losing their homes, it's nice to see that sometimes those banks will give back. It's beautiful to see a community come together and pull together to make something nice happen to a family like this."
Angels Of Hope will donate the house free and clear, and transfer the deed to the family, once all the work is done. However, the 900 sq. ft. home is still in need of some major repairs and upgrades, which means the family can't move in just yet.
Many volunteers have already signed up to help paint and do landscaping around the house, and several companies have donated time and materials to fix the plumbing and work on the electricity. The home still needs a kitchen, carpet and volunteers to install the carpet, along with money to help pull permits and fix up different odds and ends around the house.
Miley's family is actually hosting a fundraiser tonight, along with Wells Fargo, Angels of Hope, and Chase Properties, for "Project Miley's House." It's at 6 p.m. at Hugo's Bar and Grill in Jackson (501 Longfellow Ave). There's no cover charge to get in, and there will be a silent auction, live entertainment, and door prizes. They invite anyone to come out and help raise money for the house.
If people want to specifically donate their time or materials, you can contact Angels of Hope through their website - www.angelsofhope.org - or we've put the link on our website, just click on the Hot Button.
Miley's parents say they hope to move into the home soon, and are grateful for the help.
"It's amazing that there's good people out there," said Carpenter. "And eventually we'll pay it forward to somebody else."
The new home will help ease their load as Miley takes on her fourth round of maintenance chemotherapy in the fall. Before she starts treatment, her family will take a trip to Disney World in September, right before Miley turns four years old.