Friends, family come together to help Vardy beat rare form of cancer

Leslea Vardy-Underwood is fighting for her life on one good leg and with one great attitude.

Doctors removed her left leg in January, which kept a rare form of cancer from spreading.

Underwood recently began a series of chemotherapy treatments. She’s making plans to beat the disease.

Underwood said five years from now, “Obviously, I’d like to be cancer free, raising my family and continuing on in my career.”

The United Methodist Church of Wolfforth sponsored a chili cook off to raise funds for her.

Curtis House, the pastor of the church, said a fund has been set up at ABC Bank for Underwood to help pay some of the expenses.

What form of cancer is this?

“It is called synovial sarcoma and it is a rare soft tissue form of cancer. It usually only affects one in 300,000 people.”

How and when did you find out about it?

“It all started in about 2006 when I was pregnant with my daughter. I developed a lump on my left knee and I neglected it for a while, which was a big mistake. Finally, in the summer of 2007, I went to the doctor and they did a biopsy and MRI. They couldn’t figure out what it was, so they decided to remove it. When they removed it, they sent it to the pathologist and they returned it with the diagnosis of cancer.”

How has your husband Chris been through this?

“He’s been very strong and supportive. It’s hard on him emotionally because I think I am kind of the rock of the family. It’s hard on him to see me go through this and see me in pain.”

Where are you in the process right now?

“Right now, I have to go through chemotherapy every three weeks for the next six months. It’s four days of inpatient chemotherapy at the hospital.”

Do you know any cancer survivors?

“My husband’s sister recently got a cancer-free diagnosis. She’s been very supportive of me. She’s been giving me a lot of advice. She knows what I am going through.”

What did you find out about your family. What did you find out about them you didn’t know before?

“My family has been wonderful. They have been, very, very supportive. I am lucky to have my parents in town. My sister and her family; They have been great going back and forth to Houston, M.D. Anderson and staying in the hospital with me, helping take care of my little girl and just providing love and emotional support. I don’t think I could have gone through this without them.”

Tell me about your faith. Have you become closer to God through this?

“I have. It’s just an obstacle put in my path. Through prayer and my faith in God, I’ve been able to get through it and survive. I know God will get me through. I know he has put this obstacle in my life. I haven’t quite found out why he put this obstacle in my life. But in the end I’ll be a better person for it and it’ll help me in my journey.”

What do you think of the chili cook-off?

“I think it’s wonderful. Our church family has been amazing. It is another thing which helped me get through this. I’m very touched with what they are doing.”

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