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American Cancer Society

'The Jamie-ness factor': Family, friends support teen in battle against rare tumor

'The Jamie-ness factor': Family, friends support teen in battle against rare tumor

From the first day of sixth-grade health class, the moon-faced girl gave Megan Birmingham a special greeting. "Hey, coach!" she would chirp. "She was the only one," said Birmingham, trying to remember if any other student called her by the nickname. "I don't know what possessed her." With small classes at Chesapeake Science Point Public Charter School in Hanover, it was easy for Birmingham to get close to a cheerful Jamie Purper, then 12 years old. So when Jamie got sick, Birmingham knew what she had to do: She applied for Anne Arundel County schools' home and hospital teaching program to continue seeing Jamie. Since then, even after she...

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