On Sunday, Lexie Williams, 11, a Lakeville native, and 13-year-old Tatyana Abrams of Avon will be two of seven children featured in a 30-minute segment to air at 8 p.m. on Nickelodeon’s Nick News aimed at helping other children understand what it’s like to be a kid with cancer.
Lexie Williams of Lakeville is a competitive swimmer, skilled artist and baker, and, at 11 years old, a child living with cancer.
On Sunday, the Lakeville native and 13-year-old Tatyana Abrams of Avon will be two of seven children featured in a 30-minute segment to air at 8 p.m. on Nickelodeon’s “Nick News.”
The segment, called “The Face of Courage: Kids Living with Cancer,” finds Williams at Camp Sunshine in Casco, Maine, a free, woodland haven for children with life-threatening illnesses and their families.
The segment will be hosted by 18-year cancer survivor Linda Ellerbee.
Abrams is being treated for an aggressive form of leukemia, according to a press release by Nickelodeon. She was unavailable for an interview.
Williams talked about her battle with cancer and her reasons for appearing on the program.
Between backstrokes and baking lessons, Williams has endured multiple surgeries and two years of chemotherapy to stall the slow-growing brain tumor she was diagnosed with at 31/2 months old.
Between ages 6 and 7, and 8 and 9, Williams endured two years of chemotherapy, spending each Wednesday at the Dana-Farber Institute in Boston.
“But I never missed a day of school,” she said. “I would be really tired on Thursdays, but my friends and teachers understood.”
In third grade — the last time she underwent chemotherapy — Williams said teachers reserved a bean bag chair for her if she needed to rest during the school day.
Now a sixth-grader at Northbrook Academy in Raynham, Williams spends more than seven hours a week in the pool, and, in her spare time, likes to cook, bake, draw and paint.
“I’m most known for my ‘Lexie Brownies,’” Williams said.
Her secret ingredient, she said, is being sure to stir them with some love.
In August 2009, MRI results revealed that her tumor showed signs of growth but it wasn’t significant enough to require more chemotherapy treatment.
“We call it being stable,” Williams said.
The family then planned a getaway at Camp Sunshine — designed especially for children with brain tumors — in October 2009.
Nancy Cincotta, Camp Sunshine’s psychosocial director, recommended that Williams participate in filming.
“She thought it would be nice for my family, and it would help lift our spirits,” Williams said.
After talking it over with mom, Alice, and 13-year-old sister, Emily, Williams agreed to two days of intensive filming on the camp’s grounds.
Cameras followed Williams up a rock wall-climbing course and as she kayaked across Sebago Lake.
In an interview, Williams said she spoke about her chemotherapy and of the comforts of being in an environment where she is surrounded by kids just like her — kids with cancer.
At Camp Sunshine, she talks openly about life with cancer, she said.
“Being filmed was harder than I thought it would be,” Williams said, “but kids are living with cancer and kids are dying from cancer and I want people to know that, so they can help to find a cure.”
And Williams has advice for other children, like her, who are battling cancer. “Stay with it, stay strong and know that it’s going to be over at some point,” she said.
Williams said she plans to have a party with friends on Sunday to celebrate the broadcast of “The Face of Courage: Kids Living with Cancer.”