Layla had always been a happy child, with a smile that could light up a room and an infectious laugh. Her playful demeanor and sense of humor made her an absolute joy to be around. So at 16 months when Layla became more irritable and her eating habits changed, her parents, Shanna and Ryan, thought they had a “picky eater” on their hands. In the beginning of May 2009, Layla awoke with a swollen eye. She was taken to the doctor and treated for an ear infection. After a few days of the same odd behavior and after discovering that Layla’s stomach was slightly hard and distended, the Marsh’s took Layla back to the doctor where they were told to give her Miralax over the weekend and come back if there was no improvement. When that didn’t work, they were referred to a GI specialist.

Thursday, May 7th 2009 the Marsh’s met with the GI specialist thinking they were going to be told that Layla would have to undergo testing to resolve her stomach issues. Instead, they heard of the possibility of cancer or leukemia. X-Rays and tests were ordered and the family was sent home to wait on the results. Mere hours later, they were called back to the hospital. Layla had a massive tumor extending from above her left kidney, around her side, over her belly and around her aorta. The cancer had also permeated her bones. She was diagnosed with Stage 4 Neuroblastoma.

Treatment started right away, and over 10 months, Layla underwent 7 rounds of chemo, 11 surgeries, multiple blood transfusions, a bone marrow harvest and transplant, radiation and lengthy hospital stays. Through it all, Layla continued to fight. She showed insurmountable strength and brought hope to everyone who heard her story. Layla’s friends and family continued to pray fervently for God to rid her body of cancer.

Nevertheless, Friday, January 22, 2010, The Marsh’s received the devastating news that a new tumor had formed and was attacking Layla’s one functioning kidney. Because of the weakened state of her kidneys not many treatment options were available. After consulting with Layla’s doctor, Shanna and Ryan decided to administer daily oral chemo to Layla in hopes that it would help to slow or even cease the tumor’s growth and allow Layla’s kidney to function properly again.

Despite all of the hope Layla’s doctors had in the treatment, the prayers of family, friends and perfect strangers - Layla Grace gained her eternal wings on March 9, 2010.

Layla Grace has unknowingly affected the lives of so many people. Her story has left an imprint on hundreds of hearts. She has brought us hope, laughter, and restored faith. Those beautiful blue eyes held wisdom way beyond Layla’s two years.

Though her earthly life may be over, her memory is far from gone. Family and friends are working hard to carry on Layla's legacy and form a foundation in her name to help other children with this  horrible disease.

Please join us as we continue in the fight for Layla.
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