Health & Wellness

9-year-old cancer survivor makes bracelets help other kids fighting the disease

Becca Salmins knows how to fight. The 9-year-old successfully fought off cancer after more than two years of painful treatment.

Now the young survivor wants to help other children battling the disease cancer by raising money through her bracelet shop, Knots and Arrows.

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Meet the 9-year-old cancer survivor whose bracelets help other kids

Play Video - 4:35

Meet the 9-year-old cancer survivor whose bracelets help other kids

Play Video - 4:35

The young girl shared her story with TODAY’s Hoda Kotb as part of Pediatric Cancer Awareness Month.

About 10,270 new cases of cancer will be diagnosed this year among children from birth to 14 years, according to the National Cancer Institute.

Becca was 6 when she was diagnosed with acute lymphoblastic leukemia on Sept. 8, 2014.

“I remember sitting in the hospital bed, complaining that my hip hurt, and a doctor just came in and said, ‘Your daughter has cancer,’” she recalled said. “And my mom started crying.”

Her mother especially remembers the numerous bad days during the beginning of her daughter's 26 months of non-stop treatment.

TODAY
Becca Salmins, who successfully fought leukemia, created a line of unique bracelets to help find a cure to childhood cancers.

“Tons of spinal taps, tons of hospital admissions, tons of side effects,” Sherry Salmins said. “She took chemo every single day of her treatment. It was a long haul.”

Becca celebrated her final treatment on Nov. 13, 2016, and she has been cancer-free ever since.

But she continued to think about what her life was like while undergoing treatment.

“I just wanted to be a normal kid, and that’s what every kid wants to do when they are going through treatment,” she said.

“I was never able to do much, and that's what the kids laying in their hospital beds right now want to do, asking their mom and dad, ‘When are we leaving? When can I go play with my friends?’ So we decided we have to give back.”

TODAY
Becca started Knots and Arrows with her dad, and fellow cancer survivor, Gehard Salmins.

This past February, Becca came up with the idea for Knots and Arrows, a company that makes bracelets out of swimsuit materials to remind people to just keep swimming. Part of the proceeds from each bracelet goes to various charities that research or help people with pediatric cancer.

Becca created the organization with a fellow cancer survivor, her father, Gerhard Salmins, whom she calls, “my cure.”

"I would be in the hospital and I'd sit there crying and then my dad would come in and he would play games with me," she said. "It made me forget about what I was going through."

Becca said the the name of the organization reflects the motto she adopted through her personal cancer journey.

“Knots — when you reach the end of your rope, tie a knot and hang on,” she said. “And arrows — when life seems to be pulling you back with difficulties, it just means it's going to launch you into something great.”

Her organization has already donated thousands of dollars to research organizations and families in need.

“We were very fortunate," her mother, Sherry said. "We were very blessed that she is here and we're going to take that and count it as a blessing and our opportunity to give back."

Becca said she hopes her bracelets will remind people that great things can result from small changes.

"No matter what age you are, what you look like, how you act, you can make a difference!" she said.

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