13-year-old Sahara Aldridge loses cancer battle

Tuesday, November 6, 2007
One of the first students to sign the banner puts an exclamation mark after her message for Sahara Aldridge, who lost her battle with cancer on Monday night. Students at Cape Central Jr. High filled the banner with well wishes on Tuesday afternoon. (Aaron Eisenhauer)

Sahara Aldridge lost her battle with cancer Monday night.

The 13-year-old died at her Cape Girardeau home, nearly 18 months after she was diagnosed with a cancerous brain stem tumor, just a few days after she returned from treatment at Stanford University in Palo Alto, Calif., where doctors were able to remove 70 percent of the tumor on her brain stem.

The Aldridge family had tried three separate courses of treatment with Sahara -- chemotherapy and radiation at first, followed by an experimental treatment using drugs called antineoplastines and finally the surgical treatment.

The Southeast Missourian has no information on the exact cause of death.

Central Junior High principal Roy Merideth said the school was notified before classes began and teachers were told of the situation so they could be ready to help students deal with their grief. Many of Sahara's classmates are students at the junior high.

During their lunch hour students will have the chance to write or draw messages honoring Sahara on a large banner set up in the school's cafeteria.

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