Local girl fighting extraordinary battle

Here is a photo of Charylee, or "CJ," Severance taken at Children's Hospital in Dayton, where she is being treated for a disease of the liver. (Courtesy photo)

GREENVILLE – Mike and Crystal Severance and family are going through a life-changing experience as their daughter, Charylee Jo “CJ,” has been diagnosed with liver cancer.
They are in need of lots of prayers and donations.

The nine-year-old, according to her parents, has a tumor on her liver and will be in and out of the hospitals to work on curing her liver.

Just this week, the Severances were given the name for her diagnosis… Undifferentiated Embryonal Sarcoma of the Liver, also known as UESL.

“This is very rare, affecting only 8,000 patients since they discovered it,” the Severances reported. “Eight percent of liver cancers and only a mere 2 percent of children who are diagnosed with liver cancers. It’s one they don’t have a lot of studies on as they are only few and rare.”

The parents were informed this week that medical personnel would be starting her first dose of chemotherapy.

“The doctor is confident she won’t need to be on chemotherapy for long,” the parents reported. “Possibly only two rounds which will be two to three weeks apart. During this time, they expect the tumor, or as we like to call it, ‘Voldemor,’ aka ‘He who should not be named,’ to shrink. If it reacts, the way they were seeing and away from the main arteries it’s surrounding now, they will send her to Cincinnati Children’s for Voldemort to be removed, last resort and a final option will be a full liver transplant. But we will discuss that later if the chemo doesn’t do what it needs to.”

Her mother, Crystal, remarked, “As a momma, I am concerned for the chemo. We got a lot of information, including that she will have hair loss, nausea and things I really don’t want to think about. Those are very rare but they had to tell us unfortunately and I heard it. So my momma’s heart is torn. The outweighing of this evil medicine or something worse without those medications. We are going to fight! Fight hard! She’s one strong little thing. She has faith like a mighty river and courage enough to climb what seems like Everest!”

They are asking for continued prayers for their daughter during this time.

The Boys & Girls Club in Greenville has set up a donation box for the Severance family for anyone who would like to give. One hundred percent of the donations will be directly given to Charylee Jo and her family.

Donations can be gift cards, checks (made payable to Mike Severance) or cash for the family’s needs as they navigate Charylee’s health journey.

Greenville Boys & Girls Club’s address is 613 S. Broadway, Greenville, OH 45331. Their hours are Monday through Thursday from 4 to 8 p.m., and Saturday from 1 to 4 p.m.
Charylee Jo is currently a member of the Boys & Girls Club and enjoys playing with the other children who attend there.

The Severance family, and all of the staff and Tom Jenkins, director of the Boys & Girls Club would appreciate any donors for
Charylee, who is 9, attends Greenville Elementary.

According to the parents, their daughter didn’t have any symptoms.

“That is why we didn’t really know,” it was stated. “She was tired and worn out a lot and wasn’t eating like normal. The biggest thing that we noticed was a large roundness under her ribs that was protruding. Now we know it is a 13cm tumor, affecting three out of four quadrants of her liver. This cancer is rare in children. It is not a disease that runs in the family and has no real reason.”

Charlyee isn’t in many activities at school other than LifeWise and 4-H, and enjoys being social and a good friend with her friends in school.

“She is optimistic and so strong about the diagnosis,” Crystal said.

The Severances first brought their daughter into the emergency room at Wayne HealthCare for the large mass they could see visually at first.

“She had a generic scan there which showed the mass and had characteristics for cancer, and we then traveled immediately to Dayton’s Children’s and was admitted through their ER,” the Severances said. “The following day, she had full scans, which included CT and MRI, which gave us a better view of what was going on. This is where we learned about the size of the tumor, was told it was definitely cancer and how it was affecting her liver. The next day they did a biopsy and took a portion of the liver and mass. We had to wait four days for biopsy results.”

After these upcoming two rounds of chemotherapy, medical officials will check the size of the tumor and, if it’s shrinking, they will consider removal if it’s moved away from major arteries and veins.

“The reason they can’t remove it now is because of the size and where it’s positioned in the liver as it’s too close to several main arteries),” it was noted. “The goal is once it shrinks to remove the mass and maybe another round of chemo if there are any cells left over. If the cancer cells are gone. That would be the best news. The last resort would be a full transplant of the liver. She will have scans and imaging every year even in remission. This is to help other children or individuals who are battling cancer in the future and if the chemo does affect anything in the future they are able to find better options for the next generations.”

Charylee is going into fourth grade in the fall. Her cancer was diagnosed two days before school ended, so she missed those last two days of the 2023-24 school year.

According to her parents, Charlyee is just a typical little girl, who loves cats, foxes and the ever-popular, Pokémon! She also loves spending time with her parents and big brother, Gryffin, who is 12. She’s an ordinary girl fighting an extraordinary battle.