9-year-old cheerleader now using her strength to beat cancer

9-year-old cheerleader Destiny Riekeberg, now using her strength to beat cancer

BIRMINGHAM, Ala. (WBRC) - Six months ago, Destiny Riekeberg was doing one of her favorite things, showing off her cheerleading skills.

Not only does she love to cheer, but she’s really good and has plenty of trophies to prove it.

Her mother, Lacretia Riekeberg, says at the time, there was nothing her 8-year-old couldn’t do. Then in a matter of weeks, everything changed.

"As soon as Christmas break hit, boom, she was down for the count," said Riekeberg.

She knew something was wrong with her daughter. The family made several trips to the doctor's office, but couldn't figure out the problem.

"I looked at her and thought, oh my gosh, my daughter looks like a cancer patient."

Unfortunately, she was right. After being admitted to the hospital, Destiny found out she has a rare form of liver cancer. Shortly after receiving the news, Destiny had emergency surgery for a bleeding tumor.

For nearly four months, she was in the hospital fighting for her life.

"She was on breathing tubes, bedridden, she can't walk now, she was on dialysis," said Riekeberg

Even with all the obstacles, Destiny never lost her competitive spirit. She finally got to go home in April and to a hero’s welcome. The Pelham Police and Fire Department led a parade by her house.

Sadly, the trip home didn't last for long; she's now back at the hospital waiting to have a rare procedure.

In fact, according to Destiny's mom, it's the first time UAB will perform the procedure.

"She will be making history with that, and hopefully, it's going to help her."

Destiny’s parents say they’ve kept a positive attitude through all of this, but it was a conversation with their now 9-year-old daughter that gave them even more strength.

"She said now I got to grow closer to God and Jesus, and now people will remember me for the right reasons."

All Destiny’s mom wants for Mother’s Day is prayers for her daughter and to bring more awareness to childhood cancer.

Copyright 2020 WBRC. All rights reserved.