COGAN STATION - It was almost a year ago during a softball game when Jacqueline Snyder pulled a leg muscle.
Her mother, Lisa, remembers her crying all night and feeling nauseated. They went to the doctor who did an X-ray and found nothing wrong, but were told to keep watching.
A fever and headaches developed, so the hospital did bloodwork and the family was told to go to Geisinger Medical Center in Danville. On June 1, they found out Jacqueline had acute lymphoblastic leukemia, which is cancer in the white blood cells, Lisa said.
CRAIG S. McKIBBEN JR/Sun-Gazette
Jacqueline Snyder, 9, right, smiles at her family’s Hepburn Township farm Sunday evening as her mother, Lisa, looks on. In a provided photo below from left are Lisa, John, Keith, Jacqueline and Jessica Snyder.
Now the 9-year-old takes daily chemo pills, has blood drawn once a month and receives chemotherapy at Geisinger every three months.
Jacqueline said now she feels "great."
"The pain all went away as soon as she started treatment," Lisa said.
She, along with Lisa; her father, Keith; her older sister, Jessica; and her younger brother, John, just came back from a Florida vacation, thanks to Give Kids the World.
Give Kids the World Village is a 70-acre, nonprofit resort in central Florida, where children with life-threatening diseases and their families are treated to a weeklong, cost-free family vacations.
And in that week, they did a lot.
They flew to Florida on April 24, as Jacqueline kept chewing her gum to stop her ears from popping.
She played in the Star Tower, where she wrote her name on a star and made a wish. The next day, she got to see where on the ceiling her star was permanently placed using an iPad. Her star joined tens of thousands of others.
One night, she was tucked in by Ms. Merry, who spent more time untucking her sheets and pillow fighting than actually putting her to sleep.
Jacqueline wanted to go to Walt Disney World because of her love for Disney - Disney movies, Disney Channel and Disney characters.
She saw many of the characters from those shows and movies including Stitch, a blue alien from Lilo and Stitch; Mickey and Minnie Mouse; Mickey's pet dog Pluto; Minnie's friend, Daisy Duck; Woody from Toy Story; Belle from Beauty and the Beast; and Curious George, the mischievous monkey.
Her favorite park was Animal Kingdom.
"I'm an animal person," she said.
Other parks the family visited were Magic Kingdom, Epcot, Hollywood Studios, Seaworld and Discovery Cove. At Discovery Cove, the Snyders, minus Lisa, swam with dolphins.
Jacqueline is a third-grader at Hepburn-Lycoming Elementary School. At the beginning of the school year she was home schooled, then returned to public school in February.
After going back to school, she felt like a "major pop star," she said. "Everyone surrounded me."
While Jacqueline loves making three-dimensional animals, she has been spending her time helping others along with Delaney Heller. The two girls started a blanket and teddy bear donation to give to the other children at Sigfried and Janet Weis Center for Research at Geisinger.
The center keeps temperatures cold, so Jacqueline said she wanted to give children blankets to keep warm.