Casting for Kids: Making a difference for those in need

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MADISON, Wis. (WMTV) -- The second annual Casting 4 Kids event will be taking place next weekend. This year's event is expected to be bigger and better than ever.

Phoebe Yancy is at her best when she's out on the soccer field.

"I feel free," Phoebe said with a big grin on her face. "I guess it's always been a part of me."

But last year the 11-year-old had to watch from the sidelines.

"Phoebe is less than one in one hundred thousand for her diagnosis," Mark Yancy, Phoebe's father said.

May 30th was just like any other day in the Yancy household.

"She went to school and it was still a really hot day," Mark explained. "She had friends over. I made them hot dogs and fruit. They were sitting out on the deck. You wouldn't think anything."

At 1 a.m. Phoebe woke up with a headache. Her parents thought she was dehydrated, but she got progressively worse throughout the night, causing them to call 911.

"I said 'oh my god our daughter is having a stroke.' They wound up taking her to a CT scan and they didn't find anything for a stroke but we did find a mass."

Doctors at the UW Children's Hospital discovered the mass was grade 3 brain cancer.

"I was scared, I had so many mixed feelings. I was sad," Phoebe said.

She had surgery to remove the tumor and after that, she received 33 doses of radiation to her brain as well as 42 doses of chemotherapy. She started to lose some of her hair, so Phoebe decided to shave it.

"I hated waking up and seeing that there was hair on my pillow."

As the scans and test results began to come back more positively, Phoebe's life began to go back to normal. She started back at school in the fall, but during the spring, she didn't want to play soccer. Her friends were playing in a tournament just across the street, so her dad encouraged her to go watch, and that lit a new spark for the game in Phoebe's eyes.

"I wanted to get out there and go on that field and just beat them because the team was cheating," Phoebe said enthusiastically

She went from not wanting to play, to having a new appreciation for the sport she once loved. In March with Phoebe's scans all clean, her doctors gave her the green light to go back onto the field.

"I think this whole experience has given her new perspective of what life is," Phoebe's mother, Jennifer Yancy said. "She's a different kid. I don't know if that's the tumor being gone or if it's part of growing up. She's twelve but she just has a wise soul."

Finally, Phoebe can feel free once again.

"Now I get to play and I'm so happy about that. It's like I never had cancer," she said with a smile.

Casting 4 Kids is expected to fill 40 to 45 boats this year. The event will take place on Saturday, June 1.