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Little girl's dream house is a wish come true

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Raven Nealey is too young to know the lyrics to the John Mellencamp song. She's too young, also, to face a disease that no one wants to have. But she's just the right age to enjoy her very own little pink house, thanks to the Make-A-Wish Foundation.

Raven, who turned 9 on May 14, had her wish granted for her birthday - a wish to have a pink playhouse with a kitchen, bed and television where she and her sisters could hang out and spend time together, said Felicia Gross, a volunteer wish granter with Make-A-Wish.

"She wanted her own personal private space," Gross said. "We were able to provide a huge pink cottage playhouse that is fully loaded - so she has her own little house."

Raven was diagnosed at age 3 with Wilm's Tumor, a rare kidney cancer that primarily affects children.

"Raven complained that her tummy hurt," said her mother, Amanda Dunkle. By the next morning, Raven began shaking, her eyes rolling back in her head. Amanda rushed her daughter to the hospital, where she learned she had two large tumors.

Raven underwent surgery to remove her kidney - which included a tumor the size of a football.

"She weighed 35 pounds going into surgery and 30 when she came out," Amanda said of the large tumor.

She had chemotherapy treatment, and for a time was cancer free. In August 2015, Raven again began to feel bad.

"The first day of school this year she said she had butterflies in her stomach," Amanda said. "I thought she was just nervous. But by 11:30, the school called to say she didn't feel well."

The cancer had returned, and this time her remaining kidney was shutting down. Surgery to remove half of her kidney was performed, and radiation and chemo followed. Raven's last treatment was just before her birthday.

Amanda's niece got in touch with Make-A-Wish while Raven was in the hospital, and when Amanda learned Raven would be receiving a wish, she sat down and asked what Raven might want.

To give an idea of what she wanted her house to look like, Raven drew a picture. Amanda said her wish granters teased Raven because she didn't budge on wanting a TV.

Not only did her request for a TV get granted, but she also received a DVD player, game system, microwave and mini refrigerator. Air conditioning will also be installed in the house.

Raven's siblings - Hannah, Breanna and Mara - were also given gifts, and got to help decorate the house with hand painted canvases.

Raven loves flowers, and soon the window boxes on the house will be filled with them.

"I like red flowers," Raven said.

Cancer free now, Amanda said the next step is to get Raven's blood cell counts up and keep her healthy. She has doctor's appointments every two months and a full body exam every three.

Raven and her sisters plan to spend time in the little pink house and enjoy the trampoline adjacent to it.

"When she was 3, I didn't let her play outside. We came home with a booklet of things she couldn't do. She stayed sick. This time, I've let her play outside and be herself, and she's done better," Amanda said.

If you'd like to follow Raven Nealey's journey, visit Facebook and search for Raven Nealy's Prayer Page.

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