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Mooreville Community Rallies Around Local High School Student With Rare Cancer

Sadie Downs is a junior at Mooreville High School

Mooreville High School student Sadie Downs was recently diagnosed with a rare form of stomach cancer called gastric adenocarcinoma. This type of cancer is typically found in patients 65 and older, not pediatric patients, and certainly not 16-year-old athletes. 

Sadie’s Mother, Shanna Downs, is the school nurse for Mooreville Elementary School. Treating sick children and students with aliments daily, she said her daughter was treated for the flu and complained of stomach pains around Thanksgiving 2022. “She was treated for gastritis, but then she kept throwing up and losing weight, so we were referred to Le Bonheur in Memphis, and they discovered a mass in her stomach.”

As a Mooreville High School Trooper, Sadie plays volleyball, soccer, and tennis. She loves sports, and her Mom shared that “even though she wasn’t feeling well, she continued to play soccer.”

From that point, the Downs family went to St. Jude, where another scope was performed and confirmed that the mass was a cancerous tumor in her stomach and had spread into the fluid of her abdomen. 

“On February 2nd, we learned that Sadie had cancer. It’s a very rare cancer, and our doctor at St. Jude has had to reach out to physicians worldwide to develop a treatment plan for her,” Shanna recounted.

Sadie is the only patient at St. Jude that has ever had cancer like this. Her current treatment plan consists of 12 chemotherapy treatments. She will also undergo immunotherapy to offset the chemo’s side effects and go home with a 48-hour chemo pump after each chemotherapy treatment. 

“Sadie is strong. Her strength is an incredible blessing to us. Because of her strength, we can follow her example and be strong too,” Shanna said. 

The Mooreville community might be small, but its outreach has been tremendous. 

“There are no words. I truly don’t have the words,” Shanna continued. “We have been blown away by the love and support shown to Sadie and our family from the schools, the community, our church, and even churches where we don’t attend.”

Drive around Mooreville right now, and you will see community members in purple t-shirts that say, “In this family, nobody fights alone.” With an emphasis on the “M” in family, representing the Mooreville M. 

If the small, unincorporated community had a town slogan, it would currently be “Prayers for Sadie.”’ Exemplified daily through the support shown on mailboxes with purple bows, school and business doors with purple bows, school buses with purple bows, and stickers supporting Sadie and her family. Purple is the color of Sadie’s specific cancer, and the small Lee County community has shown their support ten-fold with fundraising, love, and support for the Downs family, and especially for Mooreville High School Junior, Sadie Downs. 

“We don’t know the long-term prognosis with this,” Shanna said. “That’s very difficult. God is giving me peace right now. He is giving us all peace. We are trusting in Him and in awe of our daughter’s positive attitude.” 

In Mooreville, nobody fights alone. Indeed, Sadie is fighting a big battle, but it is clear that the Trooper athlete is never alone. 

“Thank you will never be enough. But, thank you, a big thank you to everyone.” 

If you are interested in showing support to the Downs family, you can donate by clicking here.



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