STATE COLLEGE, CENTRE COUNTY - In part 1 of this story, we saw a young Centre County girl in her fight against leukemia.
An up and down battle with improvements and relapses.
Now we'll show you, how she goes through a treatment never been done before. One that uses the HIV virus to fight cancer.
WTAJ News found, the Whiteheads say they're not sure they would have made it, with out Penn State's THON.
Last year, Emily Whitehead wanted nothing more than to dance at THON. But in 2011, Emily then six, had just been diagnosed with cancer for the third time. Doctors told the Whiteheads chemo wouldn't help her anymore. The best chance for her surviving, would be to transfer her to
Philadelphia. There, doctors would take her blood, inject it with HIV to train her cells to fight the cancer. Only three adults had ever tried it, Emily Whitehead was the first child.
It's May 2012... Doctors at the Children's Hospital of Philadelphia took the HIV virus out of Emily Whitehead's blood. With the cells in Emily's blood trained to fight her cancer, Kari Whitehead says all she could do is wait and pray for her daughter.
"They tested her bone marrow again on May 10th, and that's whenever we found out that she was in remission... Am I dreaming this, because we had hoped so many times before, just to find out that she, the cancer was back or that chemotherapy wasn't working..."
It's been two long years for the Whiteheads. But Emily's dad Tom Whitehead says for him and his wife, both PSU alums, this very tough time was made easier, with the help of their Penn State family.
"When we were at Hershey being treated, we didn't have to lose a night's sleep about financials at all because we had thon backing us up."
The money raised by Penn State's THON went to their wing. When the insurance money ran out, when groceries were too much, the Four Diamonds Fund stepped up.
"Can you guys afford to keep up with Emily's medical bills had it not been for THON?" "No, no"
"So it's safe to say, that THON saved her life..." "Yes..."
When they went to Philly, In their darkest hours Tom Whitehead says Penn Staters showed up.
"When they told us it's time to call your family in, down at CHOP in Philadelphia, the hallway was full of Penn State students that we didn't ask to come, they came on their own."
Kari Whitehead still can't believe the turnout.
"The THON students came, they drove four hours in the middle of the night during finals week. Because they told us that Emily might not make it through the night."
Penn State Senior Cat Powers is the Overall PR Chairperson for THON 2013. But she has been involved in THON for all her four years at PSU.
"...While the financial aspects of everything are so important to us, the emotional aspect is really something that a lot of our volunteers just really are passionate about...
Tom Whitehead says he won't stop thanking them.
"There's just not enough thanks we can say to the people who showed up and supported us, they're our family too."
Tom Whitehead's not the only one thanking THON. Emily is too...
Powers says Emily's Penn State family is waiting for her this year.
"To see Emma just as happy, running around, being a normal little kid is truly a testament to the strength and human spirit of THON... To me at the end of the day, the true success is helping put a smile on their faces."
Emma too says she has plans for THON weekend.
"What are going to do at THON this year?
After beating cancer three times, Emily Whitehead will dance at THON this year. She says she never gave up.
"Always believe in yourself."
"Did you believe in yourself?"
Her time to dance is now.
THON's the largest run student philanthropy in the world. On January 28th, Emily was checked out and is now at nine months of remission since her historic trial in Philadelphia. Doctors won't consider her cured until she's cancer free for 2-5 years. The Whiteheads will speak at at THON weekend. We'll bring you full coverage all weekend.