• Athletes will have a powerlifting competition Saturday to benefit Amelia Manning and her medical treatments. Photo by BEN KATZ
    Athletes will have a powerlifting competition Saturday to benefit Amelia Manning and her medical treatments. Photo by BEN KATZ

Weightlifting competition to help young girl with medical bills

    Murphy – Amelia Manning is quick to recite her friends – Desiree, Riley, Vivian, Jake and Kali – from her second-grade class with teacher Tristan Hamby. As she puts it, “My friends at Murphy Elementary School, I know they have my back and I think of them every day.”
    They have Amelia’s back through easy times, like during water sports games at school, as well as through the difficult times, such as the week she had to spend in Chattanooga, Tenn. Those days and nights Amelia’s parents, Robert and Amanda Manning, will not soon forget.
    Amanda said Amelia “started getting sick in March. She had a lot of different things going on, and they couldn’t really pinpoint it. They just said that it was different things. And one thing after another ...
    “She had woken up one morning in April. We were getting ready to go on a trip, and she was hurting really bad and couldn’t walk. So I took her to the hospital, and they said that it was just her stomach, she was having some stomach issues and it was making her colon cramp. Well, that day she started throwing up and threw up the whole day. So I took her back to the emergency room, and that’s when they found the mass and sent her to Erlanger.
    “She had it [the operation to remove the mass] a couple of days later, on the 14th, and stayed until the 20th,” her mom added. The tumor, located in her lower abdomen, was the size of an eggplant.
    As a mother, Amanda had plenty of questions for Amelia’s doctors.
    “Her doctor at Erlanger is Dr. Keates-Baleeiro. I am beyond grateful for the doctors out there. They were so amazing with every single step. They explained everything in detail about what was going on. They stayed on top of it,” Amanda said.
    “They even came in several different times to explain to other family members, so we would know what to expect and what was happening. They were there with us the whole time. They made sure to come by every day, a couple times a day sometimes.”
    Family friend Jacob Parks heard about Amelia’s situation and wanted to help.
    “When Amelia was in the hospital, he asked if he could do something” Amanda said. And Amelia’s Iron Army was born.
    At 10 a.m. Saturday, Amelia, Amanda, Robert and Jacob will be at Peachtree Athletic & Rehabilitation Center holding a weightlifting competition “to cover her medical bills, whatever the insurance doesn’t cover.” Whatever is left over, the Mannings plan on “donating to the Children’s Hospital at Erlanger in Chattanooga.”
    People interested in participating can call Parks at 706-455-8490.
    There is a $10 fee to compete and $3 fee to watch. Any and all donations to the cause are welcome. Lifters may have sponsors to pay amounts of money based on how much they are able to lift.
    Since the surgery, Amelia has continued exercising. “We lift weights,” Amanda said. “We do the resistance bands and push our arms up, but they have to be even to do it.”
    While mother and daughter will be at PARC to cheer folks on, “It’s going to be huge weights to lift that we can’t lift, they are only for people who have been lifting for a long time. The weights are bigger than us.”
    Amelia hasn’t let this change her outlook on life.
    “It never, ever changed,” Amanda said. “It means that people who are in your family love you forever. And they will never change that, and they will love you.” She hopes to “never get it [cancer] again, and nobody will have to get it either.”
    Her mother said Amelia will see her doctor every three months to check her blood work and make sure the cancer levels remain low. Because of the curious nature of the tumor, the doctors “want to do a study and follow her up until she is 18. This is a research program that they are doing, and after that if she still wants them, too, they will still continue to follow her.”