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St. Jude video about patient Amris with her parents discussing her journey with St. Jude.

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Our best research and treatments in 2012 got Amris to remission. But after five years, her cancer came back. Despite more advancements in the interim years, Amris did not survive.

St. Jude patient Amris and her sister smiling while sitting by the stairs at the park.

St. Jude patient Amris and her sister in 2020


Amris's story

Ross and Marlee were the parents of a happy 2-year-old daughter named Amris. In the summer of 2012, they had plans for a family outing to the beach. But after a check-up with Amris’s doctor, their plans changed. Amris was found to have a large mass on the bottom of her brain ­­­— she had ATRT, a rare and fast-growing cancer.

ATRT can affect the parts of the brain that allow you to move, breathe, see, hear, talk and eat. It often occurs because of changes in a gene that normally helps stop cancer cells from growing. 

Doctors were able to remove some of the cancer, but not all of it. Amris’s chances of making a full recovery were low.

“We knew then we were in for a long fight,” said Ross.

St. Jude patient Amris wearing a pink dress and princess tiara with a serious expression.

St. Jude patient Amris in 2012


Then Amris was referred to St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital.

“Just as soon as we walked through those doors, we just… we felt better," said Amris’ mom, Marlee. "It was like a big relief. We started treatment, and they gave us hope.”

St. Jude patient Amris sitting in a yellow hospital chair next to her smiling mom.

St. Jude patient Amris in 2012 with her mother, Marlee


At St. Jude, Amris received treatment, and Ross and Marlee felt hopeful. And Amris liked St. Jude. Even though she was sick, she was joyful. One of her favorite things to do was to dance to music from a jukebox in one part of the hospital.

After several months, her doctors said her cancer was gone, and Amris could go home.

“We all just burst into tears," said her dad, Ross. "We had come so far from 'This is almost impossible to beat' to now, 'we’ve beat it.'”

St. Jude patient Amris laughing while playfully covering her dad's nose.

St. Jude patient Amris in 2012 with her father, Ross


Amris was cancer-free for five years. During that time, she started school and became a big sister. But then, in 2018, the cancer came back. This was heartbreaking news, but Amris’s family was determined to help her fight her illness.

Thanks to the research funded by our generous donors, doctors at St. Jude had come up with new ways of treating Amris’s cancer since the last time she was sick.

“If we were in this same scenario in 2012, there would be no treatment options,” said Ross at the time. “Since 2012, they have all these other research developments that have come along that have made treating relapse possible.”

He added: “We hold on to hope, and St. Jude provides that hope for us. We know they're here working. We know their goal is to help these kids, kids like Amris.”


“She's the light that lights up the room,” he said. “She's always smiling, she's always got love in her heart for everyone, and even in the toughest of situations, she smiles her way through it. She's tougher than either my wife or I, I can guarantee you that, and she's just my hero.”

St. Jude patient Amris smiling while sitting on park stairs with her mother and sister.

St. Jude patient Amris with her mother and sister in 2020


Every child deserves a chance to live their best life and celebrate every moment. When you support St. Jude, you can help make cures possible for kids with cancer. Together, we can save more lives.


The doctors at St. Jude were able to give Amris more time to live. But they were not able to get rid of her cancer completely.

Amris passed away days before her eleventh birthday.

St. Jude patient Amris and her sister smiling while sitting at the park.

St. Jude patient Amris and her sister in 2020


She made everyone who knew her happy, and her smile will always be remembered. She was very loved by her family and friends and everyone who knew her at St. Jude.

It’s for Amris and all the children like her who were not able to be cured that St. Jude must continue to work. We need your help.

The search for cures must continue for children like Amris.

St. Jude patient Amris sitting smiling near marble columns with her mother, father and sister.

St. Jude patient Amris with her family in 2020


Donations like yours helped fund the research that helped Amris live longer. With your gift, St. Jude won’t stop until no child dies from cancer.

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