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DAR lauds Spotsylvania girl’s cancer battle
BY CATHY DYSON
THE FREE LANCE-STAR
Jordan DuPriest has gotten attention—and respect—from several groups as she’s battled brain cancer.
The 11-year-old Spotsylvania County student recently was recognized by chapters of the Daughters of the American Revolution in Mine Run and Williamsburg.
Members were so impressed that she named her brain tumor Cornwallis that they set up a ceremony at Mary Washington House to give her certificates of bravery.
“What better image to use when fighting a bitter foe such as cancer than that of being led by Gen. Washington in the defeat of the enemy, Lord Cornwallis,” said Elizabeth Couture, past regent of the Mine Run chapter.
At the August ceremony, Couture and others praised Jordan’s courage and determination. The student was featured in a June story in The Free Lance–Star, when fellow classmates at Courtland Elementary School observed “Hats on Against Cancer” day in her honor.
Jordan had added a lot of hats to her wardrobe since May 2011, when she was diagnosed with anaplastic ependymoma, an aggressive brain tumor. Despite two surgeries, four courses of intensive chemotherapy and six weeks of getting seven doses of radiation a day, Jordan maintained her straight-A average and participated in as many class activities as possible.
Her fourth-grade history lessons were put to use after her first surgery, when a doctor asked her to give her tumor a name.
She picked Cornwallis because she planned to beat the tumor the same way Washington trounced the British at the Battle of Yorktown.
Williamsburg and Mine Run DAR members wanted to become part of her team of supporters, admirers and reinforcements.
“Now in the spirit of 1781, go whip that Cornwallis!” announced Jane Stewart, first vice regent of the Williamsburg group.
Mine Run Regent Rochelle Gray gave Jordan a tiny tin British general to remind her how small and significant her own Cornwallis is.
The Wilderness Bridge Society of the Children of the American Revolution gave her a Colonial fan, a tricorn hat and a T–shirt.
Lt. Col. Jack Lee, who’s retired from the Air Force and facing his own battle with pancreatic cancer, also commended Jordan’s spirit.
“I was honored,” said Jordan, a sixth-grader at Spotsylvania Middle School. “It was a really cool surprise that they recognized me for bravery.”
The Mine Run chapter offered to do Jordan’s genealogy to see if she has ancestors who participated in the Revolutionary War.
“That would be cool,” Jordan said.
The middle-schooler had a packed summer, including a Make-a-Wish trip to Florida, where she saw turtles, helped train dolphins and manatees and even held an alligator. She’d like to be a marine biologist.
Jordan also is continuing her treatment against the cancer, which has spawned seven tumors. Most are on her spine, and she’ll have surgery Wednesday to remove one that could cause nerve damage.
“The good news is that this chemo mixture is working right now,” said her mother, Kim, in an email. “We are looking into new therapies as well. With brain cancer, you have to stay on top of the disease and have a constant backup plan, even when the current therapy is working.”
Jordan’s mother also was happy to report that Jordan got perfect scores on her Standards of Learning tests in history, science, reading and writing. She missed one question in math.
Jordan was stressing over the tests because she’d missed a lot of school last year.
“She really hit the books in the hospital and at doctors’ appointments, reading, researching online, playing games and having us quiz her because she did not want to get a low score,” her mother said.
Cathy Dyson: 540/374-5425