Megan Lyon describes her daughter as a "girly" girl who is shy and quiet, especially around adults. But when Columbus Blue Jackets players Boone Jenner and Ryan Murray are around, she lights up.
"She actually calls them her big brothers. She's become very attached to them," Lyon said.
Jenner and Murray have spent time with Maggie, 6, while she's been in and out of Nationwide Children's Hospital fighting cancer. She will be one of 11 pediatric cancer patients featured in this year's Black Tie Blue Jackets Style Show, which steps off Feb. 25 at Nationwide Arena. They will walk down the catwalk alongside players and their wives or girlfriends to help raise money and awareness for the fight against pediatric cancer.
Last year, the show -- the signature annual event of the Columbus Blue Jackets Foundation -- raised more than $400,000. Organizers hope to break that record this year.
Maggie is excited about being part of the show.
"As young as she is, she wants to tell her story," her mother said.
Maggie was diagnosed with cancer in March 2012, just a week after her fifth birthday. She woke up in the middle of the night crying from a stomachache. At 3 a.m., her parents took her to the emergency room and doctors ordered an X-ray.
They found a large mass on her left kidney. During a biopsy, Maggie started bleeding.
"We almost lost her Friday night. Doctors didn't anticipate her making it, but she did," Lyon said.
Maggie was referred to an interventional radiologist, who went through an artery in her leg to find the source of the bleeding and control it.
Doctors told the Lyons that Maggie's tumor was nearly the size of a football. She spent six weeks in the hospital. In July 2012, doctors removed the left side of her kidney. The tumor had grown into her heart, so open-heart surgery also was required.
Maggie completed chemo-therapy in October 2012. But a followup CT scan before Thanksgiving brought more bad news.
"They found out her cancer had relapsed into her lungs. She had several tumors in both lungs. They took out all of them in the right lung and left the nodes in her left," Lyon said. Doctors wanted to see if chemotherapy would take care of those.
No doubt Maggie, who finished her last chemo treatment this past Halloween, has been through a lot in her short life. Her father is a pastor at a Columbus church, and her mother said the family's faith has gotten them through a lot of difficult times.
"I could not imagine going through this without God. As many times as we almost lost Maggie, and then various other things such as finances and everything that comes with it. We are so grateful for God and what he's done and brought us through," she said.
Maggie still has a port in her stomach and is due for a three-month checkup Tuesday, Feb. 18. Her little body has lots of scars, the most prominent of which is a large "C" shape where doctors removed the tumor.
"Physically she's doing pretty well," Lyon said. "She's finally gotten back on to the growth chart."
Lyon said Maggie wants people to be aware of pediatric cancer, and she's not afraid to show off her scar to make that happen.
"This is what God did for me," Maggie tells people.
She's looking forward to telling her story at the show in her very stylish way. She has a dress fitting on Tuesday, Feb. 18, at Nicole's for Children boutique in Powell.
"I assume it will be something super pink and dressy," Lyon said.
A week later, Maggie will head down the catwalk with her "big brothers," who visit her in the hospital, play dolls and color with her.
"To see her raising awareness instead of cowering away from the disease, it shows you how strong she has become through all of this," Lyon said.
This is the eighth year for the Black Tie Blue Jackets Style Show. Since 2000, the Blue Jackets Foundation has raised $1.7 million for pediatric cancer research and support programs.
Ticket packages, which include a pre-show reception, dinner, a commemorative gift and valet parking, start at $250. The event, which starts at 5:30 p.m., also includes a live auction. For more information about tickets or partnership packages, call 614-246-4168 or go to blacktiebluejackets.org.