7th grader with brain tumor returns to class at Northwest Rankin Middle School

Published: Sep. 17, 2022 at 12:00 PM CDT
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RANKIN CO., Miss. (WLBT) - A twelve-year-old student at Northwest Rankin Middle School, who was recently diagnosed with brain cancer, has now gained the strength to return to school.

“I am Gabby. I can do all things through Christ who gives me strength,” said Gabby Buford, a Northwest Rankin Middle School student.

This was the scripture Gabby read out loud before walking inside her seventh-grade classroom.

“This school is where people learn at,” Gabby said. “I like learning.”

7th grader with brain tumor returns to class at Northwest Rankin Middle School
7th grader with brain tumor returns to class at Northwest Rankin Middle School(Family)

Gabby and her family learned that she had a brain tumor last November. She has spent the past 10 months undergoing treatment.

Family members say the courageous 12-year-old is fighting this tumor head-on. Buford returned to school on Friday for just the second time this year.

“She was so excited to come, and that made me so happy for her to be strong every day and put forth her best efforts,” said Gabby’s mom, Kimberly Buford. “It’s a challenge, but she goes with it with a smile on her face.”

Kimberly says this has been a difficult journey. However, she’s appreciative of the love and support they’re receiving.

Earlier this year, the Make a Wish foundation sent Gabby and her family to Hawaii, where they made memories that will last a lifetime.

“Oh my goodness, you have no idea how exciting Hawaii was,” Gabby said. “It was so good.”

“She got to swim with dolphins,” said Kimberly. “She got to go snorkeling and experience a monk seal and some tropical fish and just experience the beautiful coral reefs and beaches of Hawaii.”

7th grader with brain tumor returns to class at Northwest Rankin Middle School
7th grader with brain tumor returns to class at Northwest Rankin Middle School(Family)

As school leaders welcomed her back with open arms, they say Gabby’s story gives them all hope and inspiration. Gabby is a member of the school choir and soccer team.

“She’s so strong,” said Jordan Nowell, one of Gabby’s teachers. “It’s unreal for Gabby to be only twelve-years-old. She is literally the strongest twelve-year-old I’ve come in contact with.”

“It’s difficult being a principal. I have that conversation with mom [Kimberly] because we walk the fine line of what is it that we can do here at the school. I think mom [Kimberly] and I both agreed that the best thing is to keep it as normal as possible,” said Shea Taylor, principal of Northwest Rankin Middle School.

Though no one knows what lies ahead, Gabby and her mom say they will continue to lean on their faith to get them through each day.

“This is heart-wrenching and just the most terrible news one could ever get, but there is nothing too big and nothing too scary for our God, and we stand strong on that,” said Kimberly.

“The world has its plans for me,” said Gabby. “God has His plans, and so does Jesus.”

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