East Tennessee family needs help after teen's cancer diagnosis

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SEVIERVILLE, Tenn. (WATE) - Worry and exhaustion are all too clear on 18-year-old Bailey Steger's face, as she deals with the pain and fear of a rare form of liver cancer.

She's comforted by the family's golden retriever Ethan, who stays close by, and she's relieved her mother, Laurie Steger, has come back to East Tennessee to help her through the toughest battle of her life.

Mom wouldn't have it any other way.

Until a few months ago, the family lived near each other in Sevierville, but the patriarch of the family, Jim Steger, was offered a job he couldn't refuse in Texas.

Jim and Laurie Steger moved to a small town outside of Dallas in September. Bailey Steger stayed in Sevierville to start college at Walter State Community College.

Everything was going well until Bailey became ill.

"I thought it was food poisoning,"
Bailey remembered. "It was on November 29."

Her mother says,

"They came back and said she was jaundiced. There was a blockage in one of the ducts coming out of her liver."

Most of the family was able to be with Bailey when she got the dreaded diagnosis.

"They told me that the biopsy they ran on my liver was a form of liver cancer."

It's a rare form of the disease called fibrolamellar carcinoma. She's in stage four of the disease. There are only 200 cases a year, affecting mainly children and young adults.

Bailey initially got treatment at a hospital in Knoxville.

Her parents did some research, deciding MD Anderson in Houston, Texas, would offer their daughter more hope.

"We're looking at the end of February, whatever is best,"
Laurie Steger said.
"We will do what we have to do obviously. If it's sooner, we'll get her there and deal with the rest."

The rest is the high cost of travel and other expenses related to Bailey's care. The family has set up a GoFundMe page and donations have started to pour in.

Setting up the page wasn't an easy thing to do, but the family is so grateful for the support.

"This is in the Heavenly Father's hands. We know that He's with her and that He's guiding us through. Things have happened over the last couple of days that have shown us that He is in control and we just have to have that faith to let Him be in control."

The family says donations will be used for transportation for the many trips they expect from Tennessee to Texas and other needs for Bailey.

They are relieved that Blue Cross/Blue Shield added Bailey to her dad's health insurance policy at his new job, knowing now that they can find the best available care for their daughter.