The “Concert for Callie” will take place at 9 p.m. Saturday at Tavern 99 at 128 East Andrews Drive, just off West Paces Ferry Road in Buckhead. There will be a $10 minimum donation, plus food and beverage deals. All of the proceeds will benefit CURE Childhood Cancer.
Two local bands, No Parachute and Sailing to Denver, will be performing at the concert.
Callie Cheer recently went to Children’s Healthcare of Atlanta at Egleston for her last round of chemotherapy. Her family said her leukemia has been in remission since Oct. 13 and that physicians are optimistic about her recovery.
However, her prognosis wasn’t always so positive.
On Sept. 5, Callie was diagnosed at Children’s Healthcare at Scottish Rite with acute myeloid leukemia, type M7, after her father, Kevin Cheer, and his girlfriend noticed bruises on her body.
“What she has is AML-M7, probably one of the worst hands you can get dealt,” said her stepfather, Ryan Burton, 40. “In the first week, they were telling us she’s got a 50-50 chance to live.”
“Our early diagnosis was just horrific,” Burton said. “My wife and I were having very real conversations about life without (Callie). We had to accept that the outcome of this could be something very, very bad.”
According to the American Cancer Society, AML starts in the bone marrow, where new blood cells are made. It can sometimes spread to other parts of the body including the lymph nodes, liver, spleen and central nervous system. “Acute” means the leukemia can progress quickly, and if not treated, would probably be fatal in a few months.
Fortunately, Callie has responded well to chemotherapy, her family said.
“She is unbelievably amazing,” said her mother, Kathryn Burton, 37. “To just have turned 3 years old, she is so brave and strong.”
Before her diagnosis, Callie was active in gymnastics and soccer and was preparing for dance classes. Her family said they have worked hard to help her cope with the treatments and to live as normal a life as possible. The hospital has rooms where Callie can play with other patients, as well as special events and guests that keep her occupied. And when she is healthy enough, she enjoys riding her tricycle down the hallways.
Ryan said the CURE Childhood Cancer appealed to him and his wife because it’s an Atlanta-based cancer research foundation focused on finding cures for childhood cancer. The Goddard School in Marietta, where Callie attended preschool, also hosted a trike-a-thon fundraiser last November in her honor, which benefited the Leukemia & Lymphoma Society.
In the midst of dealing with Callie’s leukemia, Kathryn and Ryan recently had a daughter, Sienna, born at Northside Hospital on Nov. 23, five days after Callie’s birthday. With the worst behind them, they said are excited about their future as a family.
“ “In about the worst situation a little person can have, we’ve had about the best results,” Ryan Burton said. “In a few weeks, we’re hoping to get Callie home and then get into regular life.”
A website has been set up in honor of Callie Cheer at calliecheer.org.