Smile: Family, friends helped Longview girl go from cancer patient to photo model

DALLAS — One identifiable trait one would see when looking at Bianca Fullerton is her smile and how abundant she is with life.

The 14-year-old from Longview, Texas, took part in the annual Children’s Cancer Fund model reveal and photo shoot on Jan. 7 at NorthPark Center in the center of the mall. Bianca couldn’t help by smile the whole time before the show as she had her nails and her hair worked on.

“This is really cool,” said Bianca. “It’s something that I never thought I’d get to do before. I never heard of something like this happening before like this.”

Bianca Fullerton (center) stands with co-chairs Roger Staubach (left), Troy Aikman (center left), Jamie O’Banion (center right), and Holly Pellham Davis (right)

Bianca was one of 20 past or present cancer patients at Children’s Medical Center in Dallas who was chosen to take part in the event, which is part of the organization’s advent ahead of his annual spring gala.

“It was a surprise,” Bianca said. “They came to my door [at home] and told me that I was selected for this and it’s very cool and exciting.”

Bianca, 14, was diagnosed with Hodgkin’s Lymphoma stage 3A on July 1 and recently completed her treatments in October. She returns to Children’s Medical Center every three weeks for checkups, a two-hour drive from Longview, and is currently rehabbing from the neuropathy that makes her legs and feet feel numb and tingly.

“Her life has been hugely impacted by this,” said Stephanie Fullerton, Bianca’s mother. “We have a very awesome church [Mobberly Baptist Church] and there’s so many people that have been praying and they feel a part of this journey by doing that with us all week long, see God move.

“He’s just been a step ahead of us every step of the way. We’ve not been as fearful as we would have had we not had that comfort.”

In addition to the comfort from above, there has been encouragement and reward on Earth with the Children’s Cancer Fund doing what they can to make kids like Bianca feel special at their annual photo shoot.

“It’s the best, one of the best things I do all year long,” said honorary co-chair Troy Aikman, former Dallas Cowboys quarterback.

The current NFL on FOX A-team color commentator has been coming to related CCF events since 1997 when Roger Staubach, another former Cowboys quarterback, asked him. So long as the organization keeps asking Aikman, he will keep showing up.

“I thought it was the most amazing charitable event I’d been to, and I told them then that if they kept asking me, I’d keep coming,” said Aikman. “And here we are 22, 23 years later. They do a fantastic job. Hopefully, we won’t have to come to this much longer, and the hope is that we find a cure. But until we do, we’ll be here.”

As long as Children’s Cancer Fund is around helping raise funds to find a cure for pediatric cancer, they will be doing their part to keep kids like Bianca feeling special, which in turn gives encouragement to their communities as they see such an oncology patient battle a dreaded disease with a smile.

“I try to keep a smile on my face and just trust in God and know that He’s got this,” said Bianca. “All of my friends and family have been very supportive and uplifting. So, they’re always there for me whenever I feel bad or anything like that.”