Family Dealing With Cancer Creates Summer to Remember - NBC 5 Dallas-Fort Worth

Family Dealing With Cancer Creates Summer to Remember

Johnson County community helps mother build memories with her family



    A Lifetime of Memories in One Summer

    A North Texas mother with a rare form of cervical cancer is creating lasting memories with her family with the help of her Johnson County community. (Published Monday, July 9, 2012)

    A North Texas community is pitching in to give a mother with a rare cancer and her family an unforgettable summer.

    "I know when I wake up, I have at least that day to spend with my family and my kids, and I'm very grateful and thankful for that," said Misty Garnand, who has small cell neuroendocrine of the cervix.

    People in her Johnson County community are helping the family create lasting memories.

    "There is nothing we can do to make the pain of Misty's death hurt any less. It's going to be an excruciating process for this family," said Stacy Smith, the teacher of Garnand's daughter, 8-year-old Alexis Carr.

    The family has had a trip to the Art Barn Studio in Joshua. A relative connected them to the Jack and Jill Late Stage Cancer Foundation, which funded a family trip to Denver in June.

    The family also had a getaway at Great Wolf Lodge in Grapevine, and groups like Caddo Grove Elementary, the Joshua County Appraisal District and local churches donated money to help them enjoy movies, meals and even spa days.

    "But what we're trying to do is help them build some memories -- that, in the days after her death, they can draw strength from them and in the years after that, when Misty's not there for their milestones, they can remember some things that are positive and fun about her," Smith said.

    Garnand, 33, was diagnosed with cervical cancer in February.

    "Just one day, I was unable to stand up and in a lot of pain in my stomach and couldn't figure out what was going on, so we went to the emergency room, and they did a sonogram, and that's when they found the mass," she said.

    Two months later, she learned she was at Stage 4. The cancer had traveled through her bloodstream and spread through her body.

    "It had ate up my liver, and I have it in a lot of my large bones," she said.

    Garnand has since started chemotherapy. The hair she always wore past her shoulders fell out in clumps over a period of three days.

    Along the way, she has had to explain it to her children.

    "It's terrifying," Alexis Carr said.

    Everyone in the family, including Garnand's husband, Andrew, has vowed to make this a summer to remember.

    "I hope they're happy," Garnand said. "I hope they'll still keep being kids, because life goes on."

    NBC 5's Kristi Nelson contributed to this report.