In pictures, Addison Cox looks happy and healthy. She has strawberry blonde hair, clear blue eyes, and a girly grin. But inside, she's fighting a battle.
"She has about 15 tumors in her tiny little body,” Kimberly Rubio said.
That's why Addison needs an army. You could call Rubio one of the captains of "Addison's Army." The group is made-up of people who knew and loved Addison's mother, Briana.
The mother and daughter share more than their looks. Just two months after giving birth to Addison, Briana learned her melanoma had returned. This time, the cancer came back aggressively.
"That's where they saw the head-to-toe tumors in her,” Kimberly said.
But Kimberly says Briana's focus turned to Addison.
"My child has been in my womb for the last nine months while this stuff has been festering, is she okay? Doctors assured her, it's going to be fine,” Kimberly said.
It wasn't. At three-months-old, Addison was diagnosed with melanoma. The cancer crossed Briana's placenta and started to grow in little Addison.
"At the time of Addison's diagnosis, there were only nine documented cases in the entire world,” Kimberly said.
Briana died about eight months later. Addison wasn't supposed to see her first birthday. She's now 20-months-old. She’s going through cancer treatment at home in Phoenix, with the support and love from her dad and brother. They're part of the army that is now spread across two states, working in honor of Briana, but in Addison's name.
"She'd be okay with it, knowing we're doing it for Addison,” Jennifer Pilens of “Addison’s Army” said.
"Addison's Army" is actually a newly-formed foundation. It’s looking to raise money to help educate others about melanoma and hopefully help children fighting it, like Addison.
"I hope for God's greatest miracle. I hope for a cure,” Kimberly said.
"Addison's Army" is holding its first official event Saturday, Feb. 23. It's called the "Midwest Versus Southwest Dual-State 5K." That’s because while Briana’s immediate family is in Phoenix, Briana was born and raised in Wichita, before moving. She was also a Wichita Police officer. The run starts at 2 p.m. at West High School in Wichita.
Click here to learn more about “Addison’s Army” and the 5K race.
Click here to go to the foundation’s Facebook page.