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Girl’s journey captures national champion QB's heart

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Little Starla Chapman and family meets Alabama Quarterback AJ McCarron. (Source: YOUTUBE) Little Starla Chapman and family meets Alabama Quarterback AJ McCarron. (Source: YOUTUBE)
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(RNN) - Sept. 13, 2011 is the day that rocked the Chapman family household. DeAndra and Korey Chapman were told that their 2-year-old daughter was diagnosed with a rare cancer that begins in the bone marrow and blood and progresses at a rapid pace.

The next day, Starla's mother created the Team Starla Facebook page.

Starla Chapman was rarely sick and never spent time in a hospital. Starla went to the doctor a week before her diagnosis and the doctor said "looks like a healthy 2-year-old," according to her Facebook page.

Diagnosed with a rare leukemia known as Acute Myeloid Leukemia, Starla went into remission during chemotherapy, however, she was placed in the Pediatric Intensive Care Unit. The chemo had damaged her heart, and Starla went into cardiac arrest after a seizure. As a result, her heart function dropped to only 6 percent.

"Just Trust" became the motto for Starla's supporters.

Among those supporters is Alabama's quarterback AJ McCarron. Starla and McCarron met Christmas Eve 2011 at South Alabama Children's and Women's Hospital in Mobile, AL.

Their friendship gained national attention when McCarron kept his promise to wear a yellow "Just Trust" bracelet during the national championship game against LSU. During that game, McCarron completed 23 of 34 passes for 234 leading Alabama to their second BCS national title in three years.

McCarron has ties to the same hospital he met Starla, according to ESPN. As a young boy, McCarron was a patient at the hospital after almost dying in a Jet Ski accident.

Fast forward the 2013 BCS National Championship where Alabama defeated Notre Dame 42-14, and McCarron has continued to wear the "Just Trust" bracelet even though Starla Chapman is now cancer-free.

According to Team Starla's Facebook page, Starla's first day back to pre-school since Sept. 9, 2011 was on Monday. She's well on her way back to a normal life of a 3-year-old.

Starla's Facebook page now has more than 25,000 followers. People from all over the U.S. are captivated by Starla's story, unbelievable courage, and positive outlook.

Copyright 2013 Raycom News Network. All rights reserved.

  • Southeastern ConferenceMore>>

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